MY COACHING COMMANDMENTS
1: ALWAYS TRAIN EVERYTHING
Human energy systems do not work in isolation, they interact dynamically with one another to provide the required energy supply at any given moment. Failure to train all energy systems to an appropriate level, will only ever limit performance levels. Although different training blocks will clearly emphasise particular intensities, no energy system should ever become completely de-trained.
2: DEVELOP & MAINTAIN
It is far easier to maintain a high level of fitness, than it is to develop it. Therefore, once a level of fitness has been developed, it must be maintained. The goal of training is to build upon what has previously been achieved, not to rebuild what has been neglected.
3: CONTINUAL PROGRESSION
Training is about applying a large enough stimulus to create a positive adaptation. If the same stimulus is applied over and over again, the body will respond less and less each time. Therefore, when we are trying to develop a certain area of performance, it is paramount that we progress the stimulus to ensure continual adaptation. This applies not only from workout to workout, but also from season to season, as an athletic career progresses.
4: SPECIFIC DEMANDS
Although the human energy systems interact dynamically with one another, the relative strength of each system needs to be balanced appropriately to meet the specific demands of a race. The exact balance depends not only upon the race duration and potential race tactics, but also on how these factors relate to the athlete’s individual characteristics.
Every athlete is unique with regards to both physiology and psychology. Therefore, each athlete requires an individualised approach to training. No two athletes should ever be trained by exactly the same workouts, even if they are competing in the same event.
6: KEEP WORKOUTS SIMPLE
Perfect execution of even the most basic of workouts is difficult. Keep workout structure simple to facilitate excellence in execution. The goal is to ‘train’ you - not to ‘entertain’ you.
7: SIMPLIFY THE SCIENCE
Good coaching takes complex ideas and makes them simple, practical and applicable. The science needs to be broken down into easier to understand models so that it can be embraced by all athletes.
8: LEARN FROM MISTAKES AND IMPROVE
Coaching is not an exact science, humans are far too complex to ever be certain of a particular training response. Mistakes are inevitable - be ready to accept them, learn from them, and grow as a result.
9: TRAINING IS ONLY A PIECE OF THE PUZZLE
Acknowledge that training load is only a fraction of the high performance equation. No workout occurs in isolation, it is surrounded by the ‘total load’ that an athlete is under. Recovery status, mental stress, sleep habits and diet - all contribute significantly to how positively an athlete will respond to their training.
10: HIGH PERFORMANCE IN HEALTH
Overall health far supersedes any consideration to high performance in sport. If training is negatively impacting a person’s well-being in general life, then it needs to be addressed immediately.
A successful athlete-coach relationship can only develop through clear and meaningful two-way communication. Assume nothing, clarify everything, confirm understanding.
No single workout creates an exceptional athlete. It is the consistent application of appropriate training, week after week, season after season, that achieves the highest level of athletic performance.