Too often, a “new” training or exercise method will emerge, and everyone will get in the cart and quickly incorporate exercise or change into the training method. This in my experience has been found to be prevalent at Grassroots and Amateur sport.
The attitude is, if this and the other is what the world record holder does, it must be good and therefore I will copy it. This is known as monkey sees, monkey do
The use of chains in weight training, using Ladders to improve agility are two examples that comes to mind. They are viable tools if they fit in. Before we incorporate something, we need to see how it is inscribed in the context of what is already being done and we need to carefully evaluate the context in which it was successful.
However, we must always keep an open mind and incorporate sensible innovations where appropriate.
Context is a key element of an S&C system. The context establishes the nature of the relationship of the various components of training within the system. What we do today in training must fit with what we did yesterday and should flow into what we are going to do tomorrow. Bringing something alien that is not proven or shown to be effective undermines the system.
The same is true for training components particularly in contact sports. Perhaps the biggest violation of the context principle is taking one of the components, for example, speed or strength training it to the exclusion of all other physical qualities. This is flawed. It is possible to design a program where a component is emphasized during one phase, but they must be taken into proportion to the other components and placed in the context of the total training plan.
If the context principle is not observed, then the training components will be disproportionate, and adaptation will not occur at the intended level. The best way to keep everything in context is to plan well and stick to the plan, explain to the athletes how does it work so they can buy into the Planning.
How important is planning? Not planning is planning failure. So obviously I think it is important, but I have some questions about the concept of periodization that acquires popular acceptance. Where does it come from that focus on planning should be, long-term or short-term? I have concluded that the focus should be on short-term detailed planning, the real micro cycle, and the training session. I have found in recent years that the Meso Cycle plan demands constant adjustment particularly at levels other than elite.
Personally I used to put too many details into the plan and in the long run had to cut back or changing it anyway. The other aspect of planning that should require attention is planning the interaction between all components of the training. Is everything in context or is there something unexpected?
Ironically, some of the most productive training sessions I have had as a coach have come when I threw away the plan and followed my instincts because of unexpected variables. There are no secret programs or shortcuts to athletic excellence. Great training programs focus on fundamentals and build on the basics
Periodization is an art, moving forward and making more meaningful planning will require a major paradigm shift. Periodization in S & C follows in its current format follows linear reductionism (it’s the science that involves breaking things down into their smallest possible parts.), which has brought us to this point, but which prevents us from moving forward into the future.
Advances in Sports Science and coaching methodologies in the last 25 years has come in leaps and bounds, logically, this led us to an Adaptive approach to training planning (i.e., best optimal performance) The adaptive approach focuses on relationships and connections.
This framework integrates performance indicators such as training load measures, physiological constraints, and behaviour-change features like goal setting and self-monitoring. It provides a training plan, being adopted by the athlete, and its goal adapts to the athlete’s behaviour. The framework for this adaptive approach is to have it personalized for athletes.
Adaptive Approach is to take advantage of these constantly changing connections and relationships. The one thing to avoid is overtraining, staleness, failure to develop transferable skills, psychological (e.g., decreased enjoyment, sense of failure) and social (e.g., limited social opportunities) particularly in young athletes or people just wanting to enjoy the sport.
(In terms of unpaid athletes, unplanned conditions such as overtime jobs, family issues and illness may intervene in the athlete’s plan. Reorganization of the training plan may be needed to cover these unpredictable issues to maintain or raise athlete’s performance as much as possible in the remaining time until competition day.)
The use of this training approach literally becomes a dance of discovery. It requires the coach to participate more actively in the follow-up of all aspects of the training. This is a significant deviation from focusing on the training parts (components) and goal setting also it assumes that the training parts will meet in a kind of reasonable useful set to work with.
The plan should constantly seek critical relationships that will allow the body to adapt to the stress of training. The body is a fully integrated system, to optimize the performance of this system you must have an approach to the planning and execution of training.
The Gambetta Method (2nd edition): Common Sense Training for Athletic Performance – Authors James Radcliffe and Vern Gambetta