We’ve all heard wonderful quotes such as ‘if you fail to plan, you plan to fail,’ ‘preparation is the key to success,’ ‘a goal without a plan is just a wish’ etc…
Planning is hugely important, although sometimes we get so focussed on executing the plan that we fail to see, hear, feel what is happening in front of us. We look at our plan and get the timings of the session nailed, down to the nearest mili-second, but the players don’t learn anything (or as much as they could). Mike Tyson had a great point when he so eloquently said, ‘everyone has a plan until they are punched in the face.’ Perhaps this has some merit?
Maybe we as coaches need to focus on being adaptable, pivoting and changing the plan when and where needed. ABRATA (with a silent A) may be the key? “Always Be Ready To Adapt” (did you notice why the silent A?). Reference: The great man Lipi Sinnott forged this now (and soon to be) famous acronym. (All royalties are to go directly to him).
Now we are not implying that we should scrap planning. Planning is crucial, although we’ve all had those sessions that have been planned to the T, for only half the players to show up, as they are sick, injured, have work commitments, personal reasons (or bored of practices), or even potentially the opposite, when we are overrun with player numbers (what a wonderful situation to be in). And we all have those practices, where you notice the mood of the players (or yourself) just isn’t quite there.
So rather than ‘sticking to the plan,’ find ways to adapt practices. Consider Ice-breakers, energisers, fun games, adjusting team and activity group sizes, timings such as when to shorten and when to extend, sharing the load with coaching colleagues, and many more ideas that you’ll have.
And remember, whatever happens, do something with your athletes. There is nothing worse than driving all the way to practice and it then being cancelled. ABRATA (with a silent A) people!
Check out 'Session Planning' from the Leading Coach Programme and other on-line programmes by clicking here: