By Wil Fleming
Know the goal of your program
Knowing the starting point of a training program is only part of the equation. A clear goal of a training program you are designing must be laid out. If we go back to our marathon metaphor, the finish line must be clearly marked. If no finish line is marked you may not run the entire distance, or you and your athlete might cruise right by the finish line without ever stopping to look at your time and results.
Defining the goal of a training program means that you now have something to work towards. Many athletes step into your facility with a clear goal in mind:
“Play college football”
“Get a Division I softball scholarship”
“Start for the varsity volleyball team”
“Make the travel basketball team”
It is your job to take this information and turn it into a quantifiable training goal.
Would improving speed in a 40 yard dash help that athlete “play college football?” Would gaining lean muscle mass help the young athlete “make the travel basketball team?” If the answer is yes then you have a clear training goal in front of you.
It is important to help your athletes set “point B” goals. While their goals are often clear as day to them, these goals can sometimes be “point Z” goals.
A prime example is an athlete that I have been working with recently. Jeremy is an outstanding young soccer player, by far the best on his local travel team. Jeremy is only 14 years old but his singular goal is to make the United States men’s national team, a team that rarely ever selects athletes under the age of 20 for their roster and most athletes on the team do not see a lot of action until their mid-20’s. For Jeremy this is a simple point B goal, but in reality this is a point Z goal. There will be too many steps along the way for this goal to happen quickly. With young Jeremy it has become important to set point B goals.
His first point B goal was to move up from the best local travel team, to the best travel team in the state. We decided that improving upon his speed and quickness was a great way to take him to this level. Once this was accomplished his next point B goal was to get invited to youth national team tryouts, to accomplish this his training point B became increasing his lean muscle mass to compete with larger players in the midfield. For this athlete the ability to help set point B goals have allowed him to make consistent progress towards a goal.
Once an accurate starting point is assessed determine the goal of the program, and remember that sometimes it is your job as a coach to help the athlete find where their point B is on the way to point Z.