by Tom Billups, C.S.C.S.
In the words of Yogi Berra, “ …if you don’t know where you are going, you might not get there”. It has been said that coaching is the science of total preparation. A best-practice coach employs a systematic approach to designing comprehensive annual plans for their athletes and teams. Detailed planning is required as coaches map out the best way for individual athletes and teams to reach their potential. Areas of planning includes; annual training plans, annual competition schedules, medical plans, managerial plans, organizational plans, and recruiting plans. We begin the annual planning process by developing concise objectives for each of the training blocks during the year. Important to the detail is building out daily activities, volumes, and restoration.
Planning provides a road map for your program for the upcoming season. It should be noted that detailed planning doesn’t necessarily mean rigidity.
Sound planning allows flexibility because players and teams perform in an ever-changing environment. Planning isn’t based entirely on theory, but on practical experience, resources, and constraints.
When planning what we are going to try and accomplish next year, we designate time blocks that are specific and distinct, but can also be linked together. The plan for a given training block should have an objective associated to it. Based on this objective we can devise a way to measure or “test” how well the plan is working.
One aspect of planning is identifying our individual and team assets and liabilities. We then build an approach around our strengths, while building work plans to eliminate or minimize our liabilities.
For example consider the player who has been evaluated (or tested) and a liability is identified. We would use the pre-season training block to target specific activities to train and therefore minimize their liabilities, while at the same time, modelling out a personal game plan based on the player strengths.
For a coach, creating annual plans for both individual athletes and the team is critical. The plans should take into consideration all the various ingredients that make up our athlete’s lives, where the player or team currently are, and where we want to take them to. I can’t imagine doing anything else for a living.
Tom Billups began his rugby career in 1984 and has spent time as a player in New Zealand (Bay of Plenty), the U.S. (The Old Blues), England (London Harlequins), and Wales (Pontypridd) for domestic teams as well as representing the U.S.A. at international tournaments with the Eagles. After hanging up his boots, Billups got into coaching leading the Eagles and now with University of California – Berkeley. Read the entire bio of Tom Billups as well as Billups first column My Rugby Path and then check out what Billups is saying about the game of rugby in The Billups Column on Rugby Rugby.
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