Training Session Management


In coaching there are three management functions

1) Training Session Management

2) Competition Management

3) Injury management

In this post I will give you some ideas on Training Session Management. Training session management is the cornerstone of the coaching management functions because it occurs so much more frequently than the other two. Make sure that the session fits in the context of the whole plan in regards to the microcycle, block and yearly plan. Have a theme for each session; it can be as simple as just one word that you and the athletes can focus on to set the tone for the workout. This is not to be confused with the objectives of the workouts. Objectives are very specific and measurable outcomes you hope to achieve in the workout, I usually have no more than two objectives per workout. On the workout sheet list the equipment needed and when and where in the workout I will need it. I make sure all equipment is working. If it requires electrical power make sure the batteries are charged and the outlets work. Also list the personnel you will need, where and when they will be needed, and make sure they are fully briefed before the workout begins.

The next step is to have a detailed plan for the entire workout and a contingency plan in the event of inclement weather or facility unavailability. Keep it simple; I have a tendency to make workouts too complicated with the end result confused athletes. Start with introduction of the theme and special instructions to the group. Plan complex movements and high skill demand activities early. Speed development should be planned for early in the session before there is any fatigue. If possible try not to mix high neural demand activities with high metabolic demand activities in the same session. If there are groups in the workout be sure to assign the groups and leaders in advance. Make sure that transitions between segments of the workout are set up to allow flow from one segment to the next with minimal time loss. Be sure to allow for intra workout recovery and nutrition breaks if necessary. Within the workout focus on the sequence, order and timing of the exercises you chose to accomplish your training objectives. If you have a digital timer to keep track of the time of segments that is a very helpful tool to manage the workout.

Carefully record results and observations for future reference. At the end of the workout be sure to evaluate the workout in the context of the objectives. Were the objectives of the workout achieved and if they were not, why not? What were the highlights? Were there any particular individuals that needed special attention or were unable to accomplish parts of the workout? What stood out about the workout that was particularly effective? These ideas may seem obvious to some, but this is the stuff that makes or breaks you as a coach and it is not taught to young coaches any more. Please feel free to add any ideas or suggestions you might have that I have missed, always interested in other ideas and perspectives.

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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