We’ve all heard about ’8 Week Fitness Challenges’ run out of almost every commercial fitness centre, well, this is a ’8 Week Coaching Challenge’ designed to help improve your coaching.
At the end of each week we will post a Coaching Challenge for you to integrate into your coaching for the following week.
PS Thanks to those who have emailed, tweeted and facebooked their experience and suggestions. We really appreciate the engagement and the feedback.
Experience suggests there are two types of coaches. The small minority are those that have elaborate, colour-coded 8 to 52 week plans, detailing every aspect of training they intend to periodised and modify.
On the other hand, there is the vast majority of coaches, those that turn up with no plan, very little forethought and a ‘let’s wing this’ attitude.
The obvious negatives of the first type of coach are potential time wasting as a single sprained ankle can negate the entire plan; while we probably don’t have to explain the cons of the latter type of coach planning.
As with most things is life, striking a balance is probably the optimal way to plan.
Previously, we have challenged coaches to provide a visible plan for the session, now we're taking it further.
Coach Challenge 6: Keep an up-to-date, 3 week Rolling Plan.
The idea is to have a fairly good idea what your athletes will be doing in 3 weeks time.
While this might take some time initially, it becomes easier as the season continues.
As a basic rule I spend 1/6th of the time planning Week 3; 1/3rd of my planning time on Week 2; and at least half of the planning time on the upcoming week.
This means that there isn’t necessarily an increase in planning time, just a difference focus.
The advantages for your athletes are substantial:
- By planning 3 weeks in advance we minimise the emotional aspect of a great win or bad loss. Understanding we probably react more to a loss than to a win (approximately by a factor of three), anything we can do to prevent changing the path dramatically is beneficial. While minor adjustments can be made, this Challenge makes it difficult to implement knee-jerk, 180-degree changes in philosophy or tactics.
- Keeping an eye on the third week ahead we have the opportunity to build towards a goal/drill/game plan. We need to stop this culture within coaching of ‘monkey see, monkey do’, where we suddenly want to add something another coach uses into our own sessions.
- In line with the point above, many of us are susceptible to changing our coaching drills and games too frequently. Often, athletes need a little more time to master what you're asking of them, and appreciate that time before they have to master a new skill/drill.
- Of course, the another benefit is we spend less time talking and explaining and the athletes spend more time doing, learning and problem solving.
- On the other hand, there are coaches who rely on the same repetitive games/drills/skills for an entire season. These coaches will benefit from the time to recognise this, seek new games/drills/skills and integrate them into their training.
- 3 Weeks is not that far ahead that we can’t adjust to unforeseen circumstances, for example injuries, variations in form, etc.
- The simple act of writing down a plan, away from immediate pressures gives us perspective of what is actually important.
- Having written the plan, and kept track of the changes, we have an awesome resource to reflect and learn from (a horribly underrated aspect of great coaches).
So let's give our athletes the best we can by making sure we have a good idea where we're heading.
If you felt the Coaching Challenge helped, or stimulated you in some way, please feel free to share this page or leave a comment below – we’d love to hear about your experience.
For more Coaching Challenges click here.