The most important thing for a coach is always to create their own training system that is individually adapted to their experiences, their athletes, goals and needs. Optimising your training system is one of the best things you can do for your business and coaching. getting shit done will take you less time, you will get better at it, and your athletes will experience a better outcome. This, however, takes time and can be devious as the first question that most coaches ask themselves is “Where do I start?”.
In order to start optimising your training system, you need to actually have one and the easiest way to create one is by using various approaches with your athletes. If you coach 20 people, you simply put 10 of them on program A and 10 of them on program B. You continue the program for 12 weeks and note down your insights. You follow this pattern for a year and end up testing 8 different training systems, each for 12 weeks.
Upon gathering essential data, you can start analysing it. Go through each of the macrocycles, through each of the athletes and try to see the patterns. Then, start connecting the patterns and extracting valuable information. When you’re done, you pick the most efficient approaches in certain situations and perform reverse engineering to disassemble the system and see through the mechanisms behind it. You compare the type of progression, the volume, frequency, intensity, the choice of exercise and start making notes on how they have affected your athletes and their performance. When you’re done with that, you can start making amendments, that is optimising the system.
The first thing you want to look at is how many athletes actually do well on this type of programming and how many do not. Next, think of what would you do if they don’t. How would you adapt this strategy for people who need individual approach. What would you change? Would it be the exercises, the type of progression, the length of the cycle, the frequency of the deloads? Think through all of these questions, come up with a strategy and write it down. Take into account even very rare scenarios as it will allow you to automate the process and next time you encounter this kind of situation, you will intuitively know what to do.
By noting down extraordinary cases and coming up with a solution, you will encourage your brain to think creatively. Use this skill wisely and create various situations in which your system might not work. Create solutions and design a scheme. Build upon the scheme and develop a nearly automated system where you exactly know what steps to take in case something goes wrong.
Such systems might include instructions on what to do if in case A exercise B fails and what steps should you follow. Think of it as building up on your program and developing backup strategies that secure your and your athletes’ chances of succeeding. It doesn’t matter if your plan is simple or complicated. All that matters is have you thought of what might go wrong and have you created a backup strategy that will be there for you when you need it.
After creating backup plans, you create more of them. Correct, you heard me. When something doesn’t work, you need a plan B and when the plan B doesn’t work either, you need a plan C. In simple terms, it can be compared to a situation where you get approached by one of your clients and asked “What do I do If X doesn’t work?”. The simplest thing to think of is the plan B which in that case would be “If X doesn’t work, you switch to Y” but then you get hit with another question “And if Y doesn’t work either? What do I do then?”. You need to be aware that not all problems are simple to solve and not all solutions are easy to implement.
In the end, you have to be conscious of what’s going on, what to do when things get fucked up and what to do when your backup strategy fails. These situations are rare, although real and if you want to be a good coach, you must be able to deal with them in a way that makes your clients perceive you as a valuable mentor.