When planning the training of student-athletes, be it at the elementary, high school or collegiate level; it’s important to consider a multitude of variables that can impact training progression. Generally, a blue-print of the training schedule can be created based on the time constraints of the season (practice and competition schedule) and the mandate of the sporting organization. Pre-planning your sessions based on tried and true methods and progression can be very productive and time efficient. However, it is absolutely critical that as the coach, you are prepared to make the appropriate adjustments in the training plan when unforeseen events arise.
Below is a brief list of factors that require careful consideration and monitoring when managing the training of student-athletes;
1. At the elementary and high school level, it is not uncommon for some athletes to try and balance participating in more than one sport at a time. These athletes are at a much higher risk of accumulating excessive fatigue and/or developing overuse injuries. How you deal with this issue is up to you and your staff but it’s important to recognize and address this issue.
2. When coaching student athletes, it is important to be fully aware of their academic schedule. The stresses of meeting deadlines for assignments throughout the year and studying for exams can result in late nights, early mornings and therefore insufficient recovery. Collect information from your athletes about when exam periods are or when major assignments are due to prepare for making the necessary training adjustments to keep your athletes functioning and healthy.
3. Prepare or adjust the training schedule appropriately based on holidays and known Religious days of obligation. It is up to you and your staff how you deal with this but keep in mind that some of your athletes may be obligated to miss training or competition during these times. Simply adjusting the schedule can accommodate most of these instances while ensuring better attendance.
4. Depending on your sport, you can have anywhere from 12 to 80 players on your roster. It is unlikely that each player will respond in kind to the demands of the training schedule. Having some method of monitoring fatigue can go a long way in maintaining progression and keeping your athletes healthy.
Each coach will have his own unique set of obstacles in which he or she will have to overcome. However, preparing yourself and your staff by considering the above examples (among many others) will go a long way in ensuring a more smooth and successful season.