Too often we as Coaches we try to demand our athletes to adapt to our system or intentionally mold them to our “style”. Instead of adapting our skills to meet the needs of the individual athletes and create a specific plan for each of them.
Coaches who have experienced varying levels of success, usually stick with what they know, which results in a program that treats each athlete exactly the same. These coaches create a platform they believe to be successful to train. Then, one by one, each athlete goes through the plan as written. This is called creating a one-off training program. In this scenario, the athletes are not recognized as individuals but are treated as an assembly line product, trying to reproduce the results of previous success.
The coaches’ value is being able to identify an athlete’s strengths and weakness. This allows the construction of an individualized training plan. While, I agree coaches should have a their own training philosophy from which they do not waiver, their training plan should not be as rigid. Athletes should not be the product of an assembly line form of training. Instead, athletes should have a plan unique to each individual. They should be viewed as a fingerprint with the coaches' objective of reproducing successful results for each athlete, using similar techniques and methods but not the same exact plan.
Nowadays it is a numbers game. Bring in as many athletes as possible and successful results are bound to occur with some of them. The more athletes a coach trains, the more success he is likely to experience, thus making the science of coaching obsolete. One-off programming or group training under the same program, devalues the one-on–one coaching science: to observe, correct and support an athlete in order to obtain measured results.
By adhering to a specific training philosophy and using methods acquired through schooling and experience, a coach can have increased success by doing a little more work per individual athlete. Therefore, creating an individualized plan versus creating one platform and trying to duplicate it, will bring success to all of your athletes instead of one athlete out of hundred.
Athletes of today are bigger, stronger, and smarter then they were in years past and require individualized attention to treat their different problems and different skill sets. It is our job as the coach to harness their good and work with their bad, thus creating an environment that promotes the development of those athletes’ continued success.
A coach must use his knowledge, experience, and expertise to adapt to each athlete. Gone are the days of assembly line training programs. Learn to be flexible and adapt; your success depends on it!
Joe Gernetzke CSCS