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I'm currently working towards the ECB's Diploma in Coaching Young People & Adults. One of the activities we have to undertake is devising a 6 month training plan.
Just wondering what sort of advice and template people would recommend to try and help organise the million and one thoughts going through my head.
An interesting challenge to have in a qualification.
Everything I've ever heard around planning from the most successful coaches has emphasised the need for flexibility and adaptability in any plan. Therefore I'm not sure how much detail you can really have in a six month plan.
For what it's worth, my approach is to plan out a full season at a high level, with the main target competitions, major holidays, exam periods etc set out, and then identify the various qualities I want to work on. For example, the first mesocycle might target developing acceleration mechanics and aerobic capacity; the second maximum velocity work and anaerobic capacity; the third speed endurance, specific endurance and competition. That's not to say they are the only things I will include, they are just the emphasis. I will usually set out what the microcycles will look like underneath that, covering how many sessions a week I will dedicate to each attribute.
The sessions themselves will be planned in the weeks leading up to the start of each mesocycle. That way I can easily adapt to put slightly more emphasis on a particular quality than might have been originally planned at the start of the year. For example, if an athlete has had an interrupted block of training and we are 7 weeks away from the main championships of the year, I may include a little more stuff that might have belonged in the previous mesocycle had things gone to the original plan.
Then of course there are the changes that come out of the blue - eg an athlete who had been targeting sprints surprises everyone with some great long jump performances and gets representative selection in what had previously been considered a secondary event. That is likely to result in a change in emphasis in training.
And we can't discount the "on the day" changes - an athlete turns up for a speed session but is fatigued and there is no point trying to get them to complete the planned session. Can the week be reshuffled so they do a different session? If so what are the implications for other parts of the programme? Is the only time you can re-schedule the speed session next to a day set aside for focusing on explosive strength work and if so which session are you going to forsake?
It's great to have a plan, but I think it's really important to be ready to change it because with the best will in the world, the one thing you can pretty much guarantee is that what you have written down at the start of the year and what actually gets done will be different.
Thanks for your comments they have given me plenty to consider.
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