Vern Gambetta has a series of posts about evaluating a training program. In the first part, he writes about basic principles:
- Progression – The most fundamental of all the principles. Clear progression pathways should be articulated.
- Accumulation - Adaptation is a cumulative process.
- Variation – Systematic planned variation will insure continued adaptation.
- Context – Everything in a program must be in context.
- Overload – This is basic, you include a stress beyond a normal stress to elicit an adaptive response.
- Recoverability – The training program must take into account the ability of the athletes to recover from the training load.
The TrainforHoops training program meets these basic principles. Unfortunately, many programs do not. In California, the high school state championship is in the middle of March. However, today I saw advertisements for spring leagues that start on March 1 and AAU try-outs for this past weekend. Recoverability is probably the aspect of a training program which is most often ignored.
However, some programs ignore the other basics. Gambetta writes:
No one workout can make an athlete but one workout can break an athlete.
Many trainers and training programs seem to act or believe that just one workout makes a player better. They want to ignore the hard work and give a player a quick fix. It doesn’t happen. Development takes time and the work needs to be progressive, which is how we wrote the Train for Hoops program. It is not a stand alone workout that you do once and it is not a workout template where you do the same thing over and over. It is individualized and progressive.
In Part II, Gambetta adds some practical considerations:
- Demands of the Sport
- Qualities of the Individual Athlete
- Pattern of Injuries/Injury History
- “24 Hour Athlete” Concept
- Time Frame Available to Execute the Plan
- Specific Goals
- Developmental Level
- Competition Schedule
Does your training program incorporate these elements? I saw an advertisement last weekend for an “intense” training program for “all ages,” but there was only one location and one time listed. How do you train 8-year-olds and 18-year-olds at the same time? How does that meet an individual’s needs or his developmental level? Again, how do these high school programs and athletes that compete year-round with no rest manage their recovery and regeneration?
In Part III, Gambetta asks:
Do you know the origins of the training programs or system you are using? Who designed it? What is their background?
There are so many gimmicky products in the marketplace and they promise so many different things. There is an online program that promises to raise your vertical jump by 10 inches. How? How can a canned program make such a guarantee? The canned program has not evaluated me. Where is my weakness? Strength? Fast-twitch? Diet? Body composition? How can you really create a specific program to elicit guaranteed results without a proper evaluation or an individualized program. My needs or weaknesses are not the same as yours. We have different body types, training histories, experience, etc.
Finally, in Part IV, Gambetta gives his 3P formula:
- Personal -Is is individualized? Does it fit you or is it one size fits all?
- Proactive – Is there a clear plan and a progression?
That is easy enough to follow. Are you just going to workouts and hoping to get better or do you and your trainer have a plan? Have you written your goals? Are your workouts individualized and tailored to your goals, your body and your needs, or do you do the same thing as everyone else and hope to mimic their results with their training program?
Consumers spend a lot of money on personal trainers, strength coaches and basketball skills coaches. This money should buy more than a workout space or some drills. If you are spending money strictly for motivation, you probably lack the desire to be great anyway and should search for another activity which you find more fulfilling and which motivates you to work hard on your own.
Trainers and training programs who are worth their expense provide a clear plan and a proven process not just a mismatch of drills and conditioning.