Would you use an Architect to build your house?
I’m sure anyone would answer yes to that question, but why? Because an architect draws a plan of what your house should look like and how to get to the end result?
That is what a youth coach is supposed to do. He must design a plan (the program) on how to achieve long-term athletic development (the house).
I believe that most coaches over think this and believe that designing a program is too difficult and therefore they just “Wing it”. They take it session by session, but don’t really plan it before hand. Maybe some coaches do plan the session before hand, but don’t have a complete long-term program, which still won’t help your player a lot. Taking notes and doing long-term programming will help you understand the best route to your players’ goals.
How do you do this?
Look at the amount of time you have to achieve the goal and then work backwards. You have to look at what you want to achieve and by which date. Once you have determined this you can start breaking everything down into chunks.
You must look at your sport and what the goal is of you sport. Example. In a rugby match you have 2 halves that consist of 40min each. What is the goal of the sport? To get the ball from your side of the field across the opponents try line. How do you do this? You have to pass the ball to your teammates with precision that might also include short bursts of speed or sprints. During this time you will also receive resistance from you opponents, as their goal is to drive you backwards towards your line as well as steal the ball.
See how I quickly analyzed the sport? That is just a short example, you will have to go into more detail on what energy system (look at my “what fuel does your sport use” article) your sport uses, skills needed, etc.
This is just a quick example of why program design is so important for long term athletic development.
If you are a youth coach/parent coach take some time on a weekend and watch a game of your sport. Take a pen and paper and make some notes. Try and break the sport down and start to build your plan to ultimate success.
If you don’t understand how to do this, please contact me and I will be more than willing to assist you.
NEVER GIVE UP!