It is so easy to get caught up in the exercises, sets, reps, runs, and jumps and lose sight of the goal, which is making the athlete better. If the exercises, sets, reps, runs and jumps do not fit the athlete and are not sport appropriate then we are not going to accomplish our goal. Many years’ ago I remember Frank Dick saying the coaching is not something you do to the athlete; it is something you do with the athlete. The athlete must be an active participant in the process, providing feedback and input. In that vain we must know what our athlete’s strengths and weaknesses are relative to their sport and train accordingly. Accentuate their strengths and gradually work to eliminate or at least minimize the weaknesses. Forcing them into training that they are not ready for based on their training age and stage of physical development is like forcing a square peg into a round hole. Another way to say to say this is that one size does not fit all. You can have two athletes in the same sport, who play the same position, are the same age, height and weight and need to have two very different training programs. It is so trite to say that every body is different, but it is so true.
I know it is hard individualize in team sport and large group setting, but it can be done. You need to have revolving groups based on the athletes varied needs. For example for acceleration the athlete may be in group one, but for agility in group three. For this to work requires detailed organization and the involvement of the athlete. The athlete needs to be “there” and aware, they can’t just be zombies going through the motions. It can be done and it must be done to optimize our athlete’s improvement. It is being prepared by having a plan; a good daily contingency plan and by using what you see, feel and hear to coach each session and each athlete.