Long Term Planning - Four Steps To Success





I first saw this presented back in 2012 when Raphael Brandon delivered an excellent keynote at the 2012 UKSCA national conference. I like the logic and whilst he used this to illustrate how he approached working with an athlete over a 4-year Olympic Cycle, I think the steps can also be used over shorter time frames when putting together training programmes. It's a useful process to work through when designing training programmes.


Back in 2011 I wrote a piece for Leaders in Performance about innovation in strength and conditioning. In that article I said that;

'Whilst the pursuit of innovative training methods may be warranted, my experience working across a wide range of sports has taught me that being 'innovative' doesn't always mean you have to be 'cutting edge'. More often than not, innovation can come in the simplest and most basic form and it is often a case of getting the basics right. Take care of the 98%.'

Often when I'm called in by an athlete or team to work with them they are looking for innovative ideas, often those innovative ideas are disguised as 'low hanging fruit'. I was reminded of this last week during a discussion with one of my athletes. This athlete has a support team that is spread throughout the world and one 'innovation' that I've put in place is a communication platform for us to share schedules, meetings, training session, performance metrics. Not necessarily what I would consider to be an  innovative idea but for this support team it's been a revelation! The first step of a planning process is to figure out where you can have the biggest impact. That's true innovation.


The next stage is to make sure that you collect some metrics (I know I've recently posted about the potential hazards of 'big data') but if you put in place some 'innovations' you had better make sure you can track changes to performance, otherwise how do you know if they've worked! Dan John talks about testing out new training ideas in his book, Never Let Go (well worth a read).


Once you've tested your innovations and checked they work you can roll them out and start using them properly.

Fine Tuning

The final stage is polishing the programme and making small tweaks here and there based on what you've seen from ongoing monitoring and testing and how your athlete is responding to the training programme.

So whether you are working on a 4-year plan or putting together a 6-month training programme, keep in mind the  4-steps to success.