How do you know that what you are doing in training is doing what you think it is doing? Is what you doing making the athletes better? How do you know that? What metrics do you use? Does what you are counting count? What do you measure, day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month and year-to-year? What do you do with the data? These are all questions you need to ask yourself. More importatly these are questions you need to answer.
In training we all do stuff. I have been doing my stuff for 42 years. Does that mean that my stuff works? I hope so, but I always want to know why and what stuff works best. I always want to know if what I am doing has a positive transfer in terms of training adaption and subsequent performance results. If it doesn’t I will eliminate it from the program. I know that there is a finite amount of time to train. During that time I must focus on training modes and methods that give results. Some things are very basic, almost mundane, but they must be done consistently. Other tasks are more abstract and esoteric. In both cases I need to now if they are producing the desired training effect.
So how does all this relate to the questions that I asked earlier? Everything I do with my athletes is recorded; some of it is quantitative and some qualitative. My mantra is that training equals testing and testing equals training. Therefore each training session provides the opportunity to gauge progress and adjust accordingly, to dial up or dial down. I have learned not overreact to a performance on one exercise, drill or training session. I always put that exercise, drill or even the training session in the context of the whole plan. I look for trends and patterns in the data I collect. There are no magic workouts; training adaptation is a cumulative process. Because I have developed built-in metrics and milestones that help me gauge progress I can always see where the athletes are in terms of progress toward their goals. This is invaluable in terms of adjusting the plan and in motivating the athlete. The take home message is that each of you needs to develop your metrics to gauge the effect of your training programs. There is no one-way to do this. It should be done in the context of your system, so that you know if what you are doing in training is producing the desired outcome in the competitive arena.