With many college coaches currently pondering over their General Preparation Phase I wanted to give some important insight on the matter.
First of all, the initial steps of program design should be viewed from a broad perspective. Understanding important general principles is priority and will shape your programming decisions. Poor programming choices often occur due to a lack of basic fundamental knowledge.
The following principles are especially important when developing speed/ power programs:
1. Specialist athletes must keep general training to a minimum. There is no place for an “aerobic base” for jumpers and sprinters. General work is important and will enhance recovery, aid in injury prevention, and provide psychological reprieves but shouldn’t be developed beyond what is absolutely necessary.
2. You should address specific training and technical development in some regard all season.
3. Generally speaking, “less is more”. Be particularly careful when prescribing plyometric and weight room volumes.
4. Training quality supersedes all during program design. This aspect of programming includes consideration regarding exercise choice, order, grouping, duration, specificity, and more.
5. With specific training continually present, it is important to think in terms of emphasis shifts rather than rigidly focused training blocks. Done correctly, emphasis shifts provide seamless transitions throughout the year.
With these in mind writing the General Preparation Phase will be a little easier.
The next step is to establish the purpose and goals of the phase. It is true that each athlete will have different strengths and weaknesses and therefore different needs. However, generally speaking the early phases of training can be similar for most.
Here are my guidelines for the General Preparation Phase:
Training methods should aim to improve the following:
Training constructs can include the following:
General Strength / Fitness / Recovery:
The guidelines discussed so far serve as a great basis for designing your General Preparation Phase. Next comes the fun part, piecing together the puzzle so to speak. Training set ups, exercise grouping, frequency, density, loads etc etc can take on many forms. Generally this is where the artist puts their signature on the painting. I discussed various training set up options in my first book and will again in my next blog when I go a step further and build the General Preparation Phase.
I hope this blog at least helped to get you started.