Developing the Individual Blog 2 – Progressing Individual Programmes.

It’s only natural now to discuss the progression and tweaking of individual programmes as the players and train and develop under your coaching programme. With the level of detail suggested in blog 1, each individual will get better across a season or development block. However, then we need to tweak the programmes accordingly to keep the progression going. For me, this is not simple, and it is where the complexity of your coaching skill comes into play. For the senior player, it’s about whether they have improved in a certain aspect of their individual programme, or aspect of their job role, and ready to progress. For example, if crossing was one of your development areas for the full back and they have improved, do they now need to work on different aspects of their crossing, or different types. You may have mastered the ‘whip’ cross with their dominant foot, but now can they stand the ball up to the back post or come inside on their ‘wooden’ (non-dominant) foot and deliver with quality to the second triangle (space in the corner of the 6 yard box). These are the sort of additions and variations that need to be layered as the player develops. I will discuss the difference between senior and academy player in greater detail in blog 3, but important this process is well thought and planned to ensure the player is continually improving, at the appropriate stage. There is also a concept of zone of proximal development (ZPD), which essentially outlines where the player is in their development and ensuring that they are stretched enough to develop but not too much. This is important, as you can either pitch stuff that is too hard, or not enough challenge for the player. The art of coaching!

It is apparent that my full-time job and majority of work throughout my career is within the physical preparation corner, and we haven’t mentioned work here at all. As you can see throughout all of the individual programmes above, they have elements of all corners of development (technical, tactical, physical, psych / social). However, as an S&C coach, sport scientist, general coach it is important you follow the same process from a physical / psychological perspective. For example, linked to the sport and position profiles, you should create a physical and psychological profile on your player to see what the player is strong in, and where the weakness are. From this there needs to be specific work done based on your profiling. Whether that’s individual work in the gym, on the pitch or individual work with a psychologist to improve a certain quality (if you have access). The same process through subjective assessment of the players and objective testing data should then dictate the progression of the programmes. These profiles are of course always linked to the requirements of the player within their sport, and position.

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