by Dr. Toby J. Brooks, PhD, ATC, CSCS, YCS-2, PES
As I have shared here before, I just started a new job at Texas Tech University. During my first week on the job, we had a record high temperature on Monday, record snowfall on Wednesday, and fired our long-tenured and fan favorite head football coach. What a week! At any rate, I am settling in and getting ready for the upcoming spring semester.
Although my official start date was December 28th, students don’t return until January 13th. Those few weeks have been great. For the first time in a long time, I am looking over my syllabi and questioning what it is precisely I want my students to learn this semester, how I intend to teach it to them, and what I can do to keep them engaged and interested. As with most jobs, experience in teaching can be a double edged sword. While things get more familiar and in some ways “easier” over time, it is human nature to tend to get complacent. We did it this way before and it worked, so why mess with it?
In my case, such thinking often led me to utilize previous plans and lessons without giving much thought to the desired end result. What these few weeks have allowed and in some ways forced me to do is take a good hard look at those goals and the strategies to attain them. Similarly, when working with young athletes, it is tempting to “fly by the seat of your pants” and develop programming on the fly. However, experience has shown me time and time again that investing time up front , developing my plan, and tweaking as needed is a far superior method.
If you are training young athletes, I encourage you to do the work right up front. Although it may sometimes seem burdensome, such work will encourage you to be deliberate and purposeful in your programming. Even better, it will provide a valuable reference to consult when assessing the effectiveness of your efforts. A little effort on the front end will yield tremendous results on the back end!
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Dr. Toby J. Brooks, PhD, ATC, CSCS, YCS-2, PES