Training Session Considerations

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Each training session should a have general theme. This general theme in turn should be supported by objectives for each component of the training session that are very specific and measurable. When planning an individual training session, ask yourself what do I most need to accomplish? How does that fit into the bigger picture? Carefully consider the time available. The key is to design the sessions so that there is a seamless flow from one workout into another, so that even though the focus is on that individual workout it is always placed in the context of the workout leading into and out of it. The ultimate goal is the cumulative training effect, which is what occurs in the long term. Where does the workout fit within the Microcycle plan? The workout is only one component of the big picture. To achieve this look carefully at complementary components that make up the sessions, both intra and inter workouts.

Training sessions are classified as to the emphasis of the session. The emphasis can be on a teaching, training or in-season a stabilizing, sometimes called a maintenance emphasis. Teaching and training emphasis sessions will occupy significantly more time than a stabilization workout. In the teaching workout make sure it is correct the first time. Do not be in a hurry; take time to attend to details and individual needs. Allow more time for individual drills and exercises when you are teaching. The training emphasis workout is the refining process. This will involve more repetition. It may not take more time, and it demands constant attention to detail. Once the season begins or emphasis changes in a training cycle stabilization workouts can be emphasized. The theme here is to maintain what has been done before.

Make sure that there is always an injury prevention component in each workout. This is most easily addressed in the warm-up as remedial work. Consideration needs to be given on how to incorporate recovery given the constraints of most situations. Self-massage, shaking and stretching as well as intra workout nutrition in the form of hydration is the most basic and practical form of recovery intra workout recovery.

The basis of planning the individual training session is the modular training concept that will make planning and implementation of workouts very easy. The training module is defined as specific combinations and sequences of exercises that are designed to be very specific and compatible. The exercises are carefully selected to sequence and flow from one exercise to the next within the module. Each module is designed to focus on one particular component that should fit with the other modules. The volume and intensity for the exercises within each module is determined for each session based on analysis of the previous session. A training session is nothing more than a collection of modules.

The actual design of the session should carefully consider progression, sequence, time allocation and integration with skill workouts. Training must be targeted and directed to optimizing training time. Training is cumulative. It has been my experience that one session can break an athlete, but one session cannot make an athlete. Focus on the absolute need to do, minimize the nice to do. Training components have a synergistic relationship, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Placing the components together is much like putting together a giant mosaic. All components must be trained throughout all phases of the training year. Just the emphasis and mix should change.

When training a group, carefully plan to meet individual needs in a group context. Everyone will not progress and learn at the same rate. The way to organize this is to group within the workout.

Evaluation is a constant ongoing process that should be part of each training session. Training equals testing and testing equals training. This approach will provide constant feedback. Never lose sight of the fact that the ultimate test is the competition itself.

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

@coachgambetta

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