It’s the system stupid! I have this posted in a prominent place in my office. The system produces results because there is context for all the modes and methods of training. It is more than training muscles and a hodge podge of exercises. There is a specific sequence and progression that is planned in advance. The athlete’s progress is measured against the plan. There is a comfort in this because it is easy to show the athlete if they are on track or behind where they should be at a specific time in a plan. A system also allows for adjustments that are proactive rather than reactive. All of that being said the system must have built in flexibility to adjust to the athlete or the specific situation. If the athlete has to fit into or conform to the system then there are problems. For example with the girls volleyball team I am working with at the end of the first six week block we had outstanding jump improvements, but we really were not doing much jumping. We actually were, but it was pretty transparent, the foundation strength work we were doing after an unloading should show jump improvements. This told me that we were right on schedule and could proceed as planned with the next block. Without the template of the system to compare against the temptation would be to do more of the same. Remember it is the system that determines long term success.
Last Sundays New York Times Sports Magazine Play had an interesting article called “How to Build a Prodigy – The Super-Athlete Formula” by Daniel Coyle. It certainly affirmed that it is about the system. The center piece of the article was Spartak Tennis club in Moscow that has produced an inordinate number of top players. I am not a big fan of starting at five years old, but here is system that keeps them playing and moves them to the high level. If you get a chance to read it, it will get you thinking.