Designing an Effective Training Program, Part I
Over the coming weeks, I’m going to be bringing you a series I’m calling ‘Designing an Effective Training Program’.
I can’t say how long it will be because it is a work in progress. I first expected the ‘step over, drive down’ series to last 2 weeks, butI ended up writing 4 lengthy reports for it.
With all the projects we are working on here at Athletes’ Accelerationit is impossible to create large amounts of content in advance, 52 weeks per year, especially for a free newsletter.
Sometimes we need a week or two off between articles!!
Now this report on program design is to help give you a basic, yet detailed, look at how to set up your programs for you and your athletes.
However, it is not meant to be the definitive text on periodization,I am not trying to reinvent the wheel or promote myself as the next Tudor Bompa. (If you don’t know who that is, you’ll learn a great dealfrom this series!)
Thus, this information comes from a variety of sources.
My purpose is to provide you with information and resources to help youcreate better annual plans for your athletes. However, coaching is a science *and* an art. If your goal is to simply cut and paste sampleprograms into your own program, you are not putting in the same effortyou expect from your athletes.
Therefore you won’t get very much out of this, or any, training advice.
It doesn’t matter whether you coach team sports, run 4,8 or 12 week groups or train yourself, if your season as a whole isn’t organizedfollowing specific training guidelines, then neither you or your athletes should expect to see consistent or continuous improvement.
No periodization at all is just making things up as you go along.
And I can’t think of many situations in life or athletics where sucha philosophy is a recipe for success.
I know that the ‘step over, drive down’ series was a popular and much needed one based on the depth and range of positive responses I got.
With this series, I invite you to ask questions as we go along. I strongly believe that is the best way to learn. While we don’t professto have all the answers to every possible sport, training situation or scenario, we will certainly do our best to supply valuable answers to any and all questions and comments that come in.
Just as importantly, the information here will be useful to you whetheror not you currently own Complete Speed Training.
However, sales pitches aside, having a large inventory of effective drills and exercises to pull from for the various phases and elements of training is, quite frankly, essential to the continuedsuccess of your athletes.
If you have Complete Speed Training it is simply a matter of, literally, plugging the information from the DVDs into the appropriate workouts.
If you haven’t purchased Complete Speed Training yet, this is an idealtime to get a copy. Otherwise, you’ll come to understand *how* toorganize and plan training, but you won’t have the tools to implement your knowledge.
It’s like having the recipe for a 4 course meal meal, but not havingany of the ingredients. You can make do with what you have lying aroundthe house, but how good will your dinner actually taste?
Click here to get your copy of Complete Speed Training before the next newsletter is delivered:
Now, we can begin our look at training theory.
I find that one of the biggest misconceptions regarding training theory is that there is some universal method of training that magically applies to everyone.
There are multiple paths to the same goal. The problem comes when coaches aren’t on any particular path at all. Instead they just wanderaimlessly toward some poorly defined end point, making things up based on their mood that day. Science is not used in any of their training decisions.
This is not to say that experience and tradition don’t have a role inprogram design, they do. But they shouldn’t be the foundation of theprogram.
On top of that, let’s not make training theory and program designmore complicated than it is. Adding depth and detail for the sake ofbeing fancy will take away from basic training principles that serveas the glue holding the plan together.
In the past, I would try to add as much detail, charts, graphs and testing protocols as I could think of to my programs. I thought this would get better results.
Well unless you coach full time, you don’t have time for that. And all it will do is add more to an already full plate.
Just like I always advocate the ‘train smarter, not harder’ philosophy with training, I also employ the ‘coach smarter, not harder’ mindsetwhen it comes to organizing and planning training.
Don’t forget, a well thought out program doesn’t absolve you from havingto teach running mechanics, drills, etc. In fact, it makes those issuesall the more important.
But you should still factor in the amount of time you have to committo program design before you get in over your head. I always wish I hadmore time to add more details to my training programs, even the onesthat result in state champions.
There is no such thing as the perfect plan. Plus, any plan must account for the fluidity of your season. What I mean is, s*** happens.
Your athletes may be excessively sore, rain may keep you inside, coldweather could make it unsafe to get that speed workout in, acompetition may get rescheduled, an injury could occur, school couldget cancelled.
All of these things will force you to adapt to the current situation.
That is why it is so important for you to take the time to learn howand why certain things affect athletes. You need to be able to make changes to your training plan on the fly without it throwing your entire season into chaos.
If you’re just cutting and pasting a sample program and calling it yourtraining plan, what will you do when forced to improvise?
It’s the same reason why I don’t write out every workout of my season in advance. I learned the hard way that once your schedule gets thrownoff once, that whole plan has to be amended. You’ll need to plan whatyou want to get done in detail and in advance.
But always have a plan B that affects the body the same way as Plan A.
OK, so that is a very quick overview covering some of the things you should be thinking about as you begin to aquire new information.
You’ll want to go out and start making changes in your program and inyour training.
This is the art of coaching. Learn something new, apply it to your athletes and see what works for your situation and athletes and what doens’t.
I have found that one of the biggest problems in having this discussion is that of different coaches using separate terms to describe the same things.
Therefore, before we really get going, it is critical that we be on the same page regarding our use of terminology. I will be using terms that may not be familiar to you and that could cause confusion.
So, check out this link and familiarize yourself with the terms anddefinitions so that we don’t encounter any unnecessary road blocksalong the way:
Bookmark that page, print it out or add it to your favorites, but make sure you can access it at your convenience.
But make sure you read it all.
Now, any well designed program revolves around one central principle.
Without it, you can’t possibly devise effective training in the longterm or the short term.
What is that
one overriding principle?
The End Result.
What is the goal of your training? What are your athletes training for?
Is it to win the Superbowl? Qualify for the post season? Peak for the State Championship?
You can’t ask for directions if you don’t know where you’re going.
Designing an effective program is no different.
I want you to think about a few things for next week.
What is your end goal? Is your current or past training designed specifically to help you or your athletes be at their best when thatday arrives? Or does erratic, inconsistent training prevent you fromgetting there in the first place?
When you really sit down and think about it, how organized and specific is your athletes’ training?
Next week we’re going to break down the most important principles involved in designing an effective training plan.
Until then, become familiar with those training terms. And if you haven’t already, get your copy of Complete Speed Training so you have the resources to implement your new and improved training system: