There are so many factors that go into setting up a tailored training program and ensuring it is well periodised across a playing season or in preparation for an event. The coach would need to consider things such as; mobility, activation, injury prevention, strength, power, speed, agility, change of direction speed, plyometrics, and proprioception, and how they relate to the athlete’s chosen sport. In addition, we need to consider how strength training integrates with the athlete’s skills and conditioning training. Incorporating all these factors can be quite a daunting task for a young Coach when first put in front of them.
The ability to integrate these measures effectively into a periodised training plan is an art and is what great coaches do really well.
At ESS we know that simplicity works in our programming and training in general. It’s better for the athlete and it simply makes for better programming. If we were to over complicate this process we could lose focus on the goals we and the athlete are aiming to achieve in training and risk not meeting the understood targets.
We do not follow one “textbook” example of periodisation, instead employing a combination of methods, with the end goal focusing on what works best for our athletes. For a young Coach who is struggling to get their head around how to periodise a training plan for their chosen sport or athlete we give them the following advice:
- Conduct a ‘needs analysis’ focusing on the physical requirements needed for the sport or athlete.
- Set out what you aim to achieve with the program; improve strength, power, athletic performance, movement efficiency, quality of life.
- Plan out smaller goals i.e. macro, meso, micro cycles as components of how you will achieve a bigger goal.
- Ensure your program flows from one block to the next. Remember the maxim, “if you don’t use it you lose it.”
- Don’t neglect fitness components. If you have a power block ensure that you still have enough volume to maintain muscle mass and strength to maintain force production.
- Monitor your athletes’ training volume through a diary. This way you can manipulate high and low volume blocks effectively based on the period of the season you are in.
- Realise that nothing is perfect, every athlete is an individual and you may need a plan B.
Realistically, anyone could write a basic training program however not very coach will have the ability, or the philosophy, to integrate all of the above factors effectively into an integrated, periodised program designed to optimise an athlete’s performance. If you follow the recommended practices though, you will be in a better position than most. Practice on yourself. Experience is the only way to develop the real finesse that will lead to better program prescription and management.
Good luck and happy programming!
Jereme Russell was an Intern and Coach with ESS from 2016-2017