The ‘why’s’ of training and coaching
Real Coaching Vs Program prescription
Every time that we go out training, the reason we are doing the session is to give a stimulus or stress to the body in order to get stronger, fitter and/or more efficient. It is stressing a particular system in the body, whether it be the aerobic system, peripheral muscular strength or endurance, the anaerobic system or VO2 max type training, to name a few, there is a particular reason training sessions should be prescribed at particular times to get the maximum training adaption for the individual.
It has been an observation of mine that the great coaches and athletes of the world look at which systems need to be stressed and at what times, then structure training and rest around this.
On the contrary, it is also an observation that there are plenty of athletes and coaches that set training for trainings sake. This is especially the case when there is minimal contact with the athlete, there are large groups training sessions where the training is non specific to the individual or there is limited knowledge behind the prescription of training. This is like a machine gun approach – training is set, firing in all different directions and sure, some is going to hit, but there is often a lot of wasted time and energy by training that misses!
Designing individualised programs is a skill that requires a good understanding of not only physiology, but also an acute sense of what is required to perform at a particular sport and distance and also what the demands of competition will be. It is specific and directed.
By having an understanding of these key principles, applying them in a daily training environment and also keeping in mind how particular athletes respond to particular training sessions (yes, EVERYONE RESPONDS DIFFERENTLY and this is one of the arts of coaching in my mind, to be continually aware of this) the athlete or the coach can make sure that they are getting maximum value by the sessions that they are doing, rather than hitting and hoping or using the machine gun approach of training.
Be specific, directed and consistent. If you, or your coach if you have one, can’t answer exactly the reasons why you are doing a particular session and how it is going to improve your performance, you need to reassess why you are out there.
Train smart, race fast