I’m currently working on a project at work where I need make a detailed plan of our training system at Endeavor, which I could explain to someone who has no idea what we’re doing. Getting started on that project, I struggled just putting something down on paper, simply because I didn’t know where to start. I was trying to think: “What do you cover first? How do you make someone understand all the subtleties of how you build a training program? Why we do the things we do? etc.” After brainstorming for a little while and exchanging some ideas with Kevin Neeld, I was up to something.
But what are the steps to detailing a complete training systems?
To me the first step is to highlight the philosophies behind the system. This is what’s going to guide you in building programs and knowing what components to include in your training programs. Your philosophy doesn’t have to be extremely detailed and it doesn’t have be 5 pages long. It’s really just knowing what your goals are and what the underlying concepts of your systems are. To me, these are 3 ideas behind a good philosophy:
- The priorities of a good training program are, and always should be:
- The Anatomy Trains concept; everything works together in the body and isolation doesn’t exist
Those 3 concepts help shape a mindset of what you’re trying to accomplish and what the general directions of your training programs is. Once a background philosophy is established, you can put the building blocks of a training program in place and develop the tools to use for each component:
- Self-myofascial release (foam rollers, lacrosse balls, the stick, etc)
- Dynamic warm up (mobility exercises, activation drills, corrective work, etc)
- Speed training
- Power training (plyometrics, Olympic lifts, med ball throws)
- Strength training
- Core work
- Injury prevention strategies
Once this is established, the next thing to do is to incorporate all of these things in a structured training program, or what you may call the art of program design. Managing volumes, loads, recovery periods and the like is a task that’s not easy. This is something that is totally dependent on your athletes, their sports, training background, phase of the season, recovery capacities, genetics, and much more. Although the basics of program design can be taught, only will you become better at that with experience and by listening to your athletes.
And last but not least, is the coaching itself. This is an area that might seem pretty simple, but you really need to understand the fundamentals of functional movements in order to coach even the most basic exercises the right way. Athletes need to learn to move the right way before anything else; it doesn’t matter how good your program looks on paper if your athletes move like crap. Because in the end it comes back to the first 2 goals of the whole program: do no harm, and decrease the risks of preventable injuries. Such concepts as the neutral spine, the packed shoulder blades and the packed neck are just some the concepts of coaching that need to be understood in order to make your athletes move better.
There are many things to go over when detailing a whole training system. Sure there are probably things I haven’t mentioned that might be important, but in the end I feel like those are the basics to understand to build a good, efficient training system. This is how we do things at Endeavor.
Interestingly this is all stuff that Kevin Neeld goes over into his book Ultimate Hockey Training. He goes into great detail about every aspect of a complete training system that has been proven effective for years. And please don’t be fooled by the title; this book could’ve simply been called Ulitmate Training System because it goes far beyond the concept of training for hockey. No matter what sports you’re coaching, it is an invaluable resource to have.