Uni of Toronto SnC Summit #1 Notes: “The best training is the one that works.”

This past weekend, I attended one day of the University of Toronto’s Strength and Conditioning Summit. I would have liked to go both days, but kids really only last one day on their own watching TV, and fending for their own meals from the fridge, before the trend in attitude and boredom really goes downhill, so one it was.

I attended this conference last year as well, and it is an event I will attend regularly, as the quality of presenters is high, and gives me access to learning from very high level SnC coaches.

I took notes on every lecture, mostly of what the coaches said, as opposed to what was said on the slides, because that’s where you get the good stuff from.

Their slides are being requested for my own review, but the gems are in their speaking! Below is a summary of the choice “soundbites”, points, knowledge bombs, as well as an overview of their presentations and topics for context.

Observations I share will be STRICTLY mine. But all quotations from coaches, were recorded exactly.

It was a quality event, and I look forward to attending next year. Notes are in order of presentations:


Title: “GOING FOR GOLD” – a mind map of a senior strength and conditioning coach

Matt Kritz

Head Strength &
Conditioning Coach
New Zealand Women’s
​Rugby 7’s

Unfortunately I only got the tailend of Matt’s presentation, due to a downpour of rain which I attempted to outwait, but then said fuck it, walked there and got thoroughly soaked. Then my ticket was not in my name, so I spent about 15 minutes with the organizers finding it and eventually made it in.

The last 20 minutes of his presentation were good, which makes the loss of the beginning felt harder. Since Matt coaches women’s sports, I was highly interested in hearing his methods for getting movement, performance and managing stress for female athletes. Here are my top takeaways.

1.) Movement screening is a prognostic tool to assess how someone will handle load. It is not a diagnostic tool. *He* watches movement to see how someone can be loaded for strength programming, not to diagnose issues. According to research, there are simply actionable tests that can be applied, that give a high level of certainty in predicting what someone can/can’t do with load. For instance: an athlete that can do 30 single leg calve raises easily, has greater levels of stability and motor control than someone who cannot.

“You need to be able to do *these* things (single leg calve raises for instance, though other tests can be found in research) to have the capacity to handle heavier load.”

Research provides various fairly definitive tests such as this to help you understand what someone is capable of doing under load, quicker, without using movement screens such as the FMS, that can produce different results based on the day, time or person delivering the test. When asked about the FMS specifically, Matt responded that he does not find it useful at all for his programming, due to the reasons above.

2.) “Prioritize robustness, and strength over numerical performance.”

Strength is NOT just a number lifted in a particular lift. Most coaches know this, yet in action, we often chase numbers on lift, rather than measuring other parameters of progress, including how well someone continues to perform, move, and handle higher stressors over time. Matt also emphasized that the purpose of this programs is general, not specific, and that his programs often look very similar across the board for his athletes. “More times than not, general over specific.” This makes sense, as how often is the general thoroughly covered FIRST?

“Very few athletes ever achieve strong enough.” – though he did note, that men can reach that level in lifting soon than women, but that is only if you assume “strong” means “weight lifted”, which is an idea to divorce yourself from.

“Strength is very hard to achieve quickly. You cannot rush time.”

“Females need to life more than males, they need more time.” – YES

“Have a vision in your head for an athlete (client). Where do you think they can go athletically (this applies to ANYONE, since exercise IS “becoming more athletic). What is athletic for them? Get that clear! Athleticism is relative. There are absolutes, but a relative approach allows for a positive experience. The right way is one that complements  (their) capacity and competency.”

^this right there is for training general population. The levels differ in terms of athletes vs “normal” people, but what is exercising but increasing someones ability to move and lift?

“Make it simple. What (they) need to be doing needs to be right, for them, at that time.”

Book recommendations from Matt Kritz:

Faster, Higher, Stronger – Mark McClusky

Leaders Eat Last – Simon Sinek

The Five Dysfunctions of Team – Patrick Lencioni

“The science is what you are expected to know, the art is the unexpected use of science.”

His answer from the question:

What do you monitor for data to influence programming?

  • “Best monitoring for performance is psychosomatic. ‘How do you feel on that day?’
  • Uses a monitoring app for health and wellness tracking
  • Tracks menstrual cycles




Get Fitness Baddies In Your INBOX

I write articles all over the web - subscribe here for updates on all my latest articles from the blog and elsewhere!