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Coaching Precision: is it really important?

Make your season a success by improving the quality of your training process

By Sergei Beliaev, Ph.D., President of Super Sport Systems


In 1985 Time magazine called the Yugoslavian made auto, the Yugo “The worst car ever made”. Sold in the US, the Yugo was actually a sponsor of the US Men’s National Volleyball Team. It was marketed as a “European economy car”, but couldn’t compare in quality to other European brands. According to car experts, what made this car such a complete disaster was the manufacturer’s failure to provide a process that would ensure engineering standards were properly managed.

It is typical today to determine the quality of a product or service by the level of precision of its different components, the way they “fit” together, and their overall functionality. We admire clean lines, impeccable delivery, and the “whiz-bang” satisfaction that technological marvels can bring.

When it comes to a process, we don’t always (but need to) evaluate its effectiveness in the same way. Nobody wants to deal with a “loose cannon”, inconsistency, or an unpredictable outcome. By the end of the day we expect some quality of service, and get irritated when the result doesn’t match our expectations.

If we apply this line of thinking to coaching, we can immediately see one thing that all coaches do on a daily basis… and that is manage the training process of their athletes. Although athletic preparation is in fact a “process” in every sense of the word, we don’t always see it that way because it extends over a long period of time (a season) and its elements are not always precisely defined. But if we are after predictable and consistent results, all process elements need to be well defined and properly executed. That actually is the hallmark of a high quality training program.

At its heart the Super Sport Systems’ platform is a system for managing the training process. We learned how to do it well helping already a generation of swim coaches all over the world. Our process isn’t necessarily new or far out, although some coaches see it that way because its elements are:

    • Well defined
    • Very precise, and
    • Well organized

And that is not the kind of training process many are used to practice. Of course you can still plan your work and try to organize your training information using a blackboard and sticky notes. But what was good 30 years ago is not “cool” or effective today anymore. And why would you want to do that when 3S can make your life so much easier by keeping you more organized, on track, and frankly a whole lot more successful?

If you are really serious about the outcome of your work and are professional enough to keep track of everything you’re doing, you already know you need some kind of platform to manage your training information. And as complicated and fiercely competitive as the sports world has become, you also know you can’t use obsolete technology any more to hold it all together, let alone win the trust and confidence of your athletes who are expecting you to be using the latest technological advances in their training.

Coaches needs vary enormously and the daily tasks you need to perform depend on the goals you’ve set for your team, but by the end of the day every coach deals with the same mundane challenges practice after practice and season after season. Take a moment and analyze your daily chores, and you will discover you really face the same dilemmas every time you step out onto your pool deck. At the very least you need to know “What should I do today?”, “At what intensity or pace?” and, finally, “How much is enough, but not too much?”

Now if you had exact answers to all of those questions, you would undoubtedly have a successful season. But let’s be brutally honest for a moment. When you design a set and assign it to a swimmer, or worse yet a group of swimmers, just how sure are you that it’ll work… that you’ll get precisely the results you expect? Do you ever feel that a lot of the “calculations” you make are nothing more than guesswork?

Unless you have a supercomputer for brain or have some amazing psychic ability, you’re probably just groping in the dark, “hoping” rather than expecting you will get the results you want. But considering the enormous complexity of what you are trying to do, that’s perfectly understandable. Consider for a moment the possible “answers” you will need to come up with for just one practice.

For simplicity’s sake let’s say you have 10 athletes on your team (actually it could be a whole lot more, especially if you’re a club coach). And typically you’re training them in all 4 basic strokes, and medley to boot. Well, if you have them execute the usual drills (like kick or hands only), use training aids (like fins, paddles or resistive bands), and apply at least 4 sets daily with some time targets attached, you will have a matrix with at least 4-500 data points… just for this one practice session.

Add to this… total daily training distances, distances for every element, and intensity… and you will get a pretty clear picture of the enormity of the problem you are facing. And this is only at the planning level. Things get a whole lot more complicated when we start talking about collecting data in order to measure and track progress.

We know that athletic performance and progress is very much based on progressive adaptation patterns. And physical exercise (in the form of specific training sets) is the driver of the adaptation we are seeking. But if you want to maximize adaptation without going into over training, then every training set and stress factor needs to be very specific, well weighted, and properly positioned in time.

Clearly, you can try to do this by intuition, divination, or flying by the seat of your pants. Actually, many coaches work that way. And since we’ve never been called down for it, it must be OK… right? Well, take a good long look into the eyes of your athletes. You know, the ones who trust and respect your “professional” judgment. Wouldn’t you rather KNOW the answers to these questions, and stop throwing darts at your training plan?

Well, that is EXACTLY what 3S can do for you. We offer you a well-designed and proven model that will lead your athletes to their optimal development and best performances. If nothing else, you will receive clear targets for every component of your training process, and answers to any questions you might have relating to optimum volumes, distances, and paces. Add to this
individual target Heart Rates, Energy Zones and strokes for each set, and you will soon see a new vision of what training can be like.

All of this information is available for every swimmer, or group of swimmers (when you need a universal workout), that you enter into “the system”. We also automatically monitor and measure progress so that you can instantly apply any corrective measures needed to get an athlete back on course.

Sounds like a dream? Well, according to our users, that is exactly what 3S is offering you. It is a dream you can start enjoying today instead of repeating the same “old school” process management technology. We know how hard it can be to make a change… especially in your coaching “style”. So to make this a no-brainer, simply start free trial and we will double free period for you to make sure that you take full advantage of our tools and knowledge…

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