Continuing with the previous article in which the second part of the creation of a plan were exposed, the ones that complete the circle of questions with which to take the first step to organize the season of an athlete are detailed.
7. The microcycles.
When I plan every day athletes of all levels always convey them an idea: good planning is the planning that is always being readjusted. With this I explain that, although the phases that have to be achieved during the season have to be foreseen, we also must know how to adapt them to the reality that we are encountering since the response of an athlete to the stimuli can be so different from that we plan in advance. Therefore, we must be flexible and know how to redirect the process individually and constantly.
The part of the planning that allows us these adjustments are the microcycles, phases between 4 and 14 days that have a specific goal within the mesocycle in which they are housed.
They plan the relationship of loads for several days and alternate very demanding days with others with recovery loads that allow the optimal relationship between sessions that develop the athlete and workouts that allow him/her to absorb the training to increase his/her performance
8. The transverse axis: the strength.
Any planning plan must have a backbone that extends from the beginning to the end of the season, an axis thanks to which the other elements are supported and which makes possible, on the one hand, to improve performance, on the other hand to achieve a well balanced athlete and finally a reduction in the probability of suffering overloads, discomfort and/or injuries.
That axis is indispensable in any sport and for any level of performance, from the professional to the amateur: this axis is the strength training.
It is true that new trends to develop it have been an enrichment when preparing any athlete: the TRX, Pilates, functional training, etc. They are great contributions offering high quality training but does not eliminate the traditional systems through which strength has been trained and which have given such good results for years. Therefore, the new trends have to be in balance with the “conventional” gym since only this way all the necessary stimuli are reached to develop to the maximum the qualities of an athlete.
9. Nutritional plan.
When I frequently do presentations, I ask the audience a question: if an athlete trains different types of loads and phases during the season, should he/she always eat the same? The answer is obvious: if the phases of the training seek different adaptations during the planning, the nutrients that have to be ingested must also be different throughout the season and, therefore, should be planned based on it.
For example, in phases in which the highest intensities to reach are the main goal, nutrition must give different responses to phases in which it is desired to achieve optimal adaptations during several hours at low intensities.
To be able to individualize it is key to perform a stress test to analyze the metabolism of the athlete at different intensities and develop the nutritional strategy in relation to it. In conclusion, another transversal axis that must be linked to strength training must be the nutrition plan, both of them developed in relation to the training and competition phases.
10. Creativity: the magic of the coach.
It is true that individualized training of an athlete is a process that must be based on scientific evidence on which to support his/her plan. Also, one of the best professor I had at the university said: “training is a balance between science and art”. With that sentence that expert teached the idea that, although as coaches we must always support science, we must leave at the same time a part to our creativity, to that part that has to do with knowing how to adapt the training to each athlete, to his/her day to day, to his/her personality, to characteristics or conditioning that are specific to that individual, to details with which retouch and give a personality to his/her training plan that allow us to really prepare an athlete in a completely individual way.
Those essential details are what each coach contributes based on his/her personality, based on his/her academic background and athletic experience and based on his/her way of seeing performance and even life.
That final “touch” that all planning has to contain is what constitutes the mark, the signature of a good coach when really plans in an exclusive and unique way to each one of his/her athletes, feeling as their own the challenges that they set.
There is the magic of planning: in the creative part of that process.
In short, to properly plan a season and achieve the goals that the athlete sets, the pieces of the puzzle must be well known and placed according to each person, that is, individually.