Evaluating a Training Plan Part 1- Basic Principles


The following are commonly accepted principles of training. A sound training program should address each of these principles. You should be able to identify these principles clearly and quickly. I maintain that if all of these principles is not observed then the training program is fundamentally unsound.

Progression– The most fundamental of all the principles. Clear progression pathways should be articulated. The goals of the overall training program, the goals of each season should be clear. There must be a means of evaluation to determine a starting point and progress to the ultimate training goal.

Accumulation– Adaptation is a cumulative process. No one workout can make an athlete but one workout can break an athlete. A good program must plan for immediate, residual and cumulative training effects.

Variation– Systematic planned variation will insure continued adaptation. I emphasize that this must be planned, but it does not mean that every workout has to be entirely different and unique. Variation can occur due to type of load, frequency, intensity or volume.

Context – Everything in a program must be in context. It must fit with the objectives of the overall program and the goals of the individual session.

Overload– This is basic, you include a stress beyond a normal stress to elicit an adaptive response. What is often misunderstood is that overload can come from volume, intensity or density/frequency.

Recoverability– The training program must take into account the ability of the athletes to recover from the training load. If the workouts continually bury the athlete then there will not be a positive training response significantly increasing the risk of injury, illness or overtraining.
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Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta

Director at Gambetta Sports Training Systems
Vern is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several MLS teams as well as the conditioning consultant to the US Men's World Cup Soccer team. Vern is the former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He has lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He has a BA in teaching with a coaching minor and an MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
Vern Gambetta


Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
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Vern Gambetta

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