Coaching = Planning?

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A friend serving as a student development officer at a Polytechnic was sharing with me how one of his sports team lost a good coach. The coach did not have her contract renewed because she could not produce a detailed enough training plan. In her place was a new coach who could write a very detailed periodized training plan, but apparently sucked at coaching.

Sadly, there seems to be quite a few administrators (who spend more time behind their lap tops rather than coaching) demanding unreasonable specifics from coaches.

Many coaches themselves seem to be fixated on imposing all sorts of specifics on their athletes. When things do not go according to plan, instead of being focused on the athlete and how they can adapt right NOW, they seem more concerned about their plan, i.e., “Something’s wrong with THE plan! I need to discuss/reflect/brainstorm/research to come up with a better one.”

I don’t believe life works that way, i.e., you can’t fit life (or athletes) into a “mental model”. As coaches, we should be more concerned about how to coach RIGHT NOW, rather than being overly concerned with planning what and how to coach.

Of course I’ve got a training pathway/plan that I check against. But we are coaching people NOT paper! I’d rather focus on how to adapt and maximize learning according to what the athlete needs, and how he feels right NOW.

p.s. I reckon the ACTUAL purpose of a training plan is to assure the school or NSA that the coach is deliberate about his craft (and to pass exams). It should not be used to judge or assess a coaches’ ability! What do you think?

Coach Hansen

6 thoughts on “Coaching = Planning?

  1. Not sure if you have seen Wayne Goldsmith’s post on this very thing this week. If not, take a look – very similar sentiments. With that said, I agree with you but also disagree. While the plan does not make a good coach, i have seen far more bad coaches without a plan than good coaches without a plan. Of course, there are also lots of coaches with a plan who aren’t very good either. Lol

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  2. You’re right, there seems to be more bad coaches without a plan, and they could be the ones contributing to the situation now, where administrators are demanding detailed and specific plans!

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  3. Plans are essential yet needs flexibility in implementation. That’s why coaching is called art. The knowledge to write a detailed plan is a need for our system for the finance agencies. It’s a documentation proof. It’s unfortunate to hear about the coach.

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    1. You can only plan for the athletes u have specifically. And then like what Veera said, flexibility is key. But sadly administrators are what they are – paper chasers.
      “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people to tell them what to do, we hire smart people to tell us what to do”. – Steve Jobs.

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