A couple of weeks ago we finished the 12 week intern programme with Northumbria University and for the last session I opened myself up to questions on anything the interns wanted to ask (within reason). By far the most popular request was to look through my old programmes and pull out examples of sessions that I had put together for different athletes over the years. I'm not sure who enjoyed the session more, me or the interns!
I tracked back to the early days when I started working with the Men's Artistic Gymnastic squad and was fascinated by the programmes. There was stuff in there that has long since been assigned to memory which on seeing again for the first time in almost a decade may me think 'bloody hell, that was a smart exercise, why don't I use that anymore'.
It was also interesting to see my programmes evolve over time and to see how templates, exercise descriptions, exercise order etc changed as I developed as a coach and established my own training methodology. Some of the programmes have stood the test of time and I would be happy to deliver those sessions today, others however just simply wouldn't cut it by my own standards today! I think that's a good thing. I would have been really concerned if the programmes I was writing ten years ago looked exactly the same as the ones I'm writing now.
The old programmes were very complex with lots of different exercises. The current programmes seem very simple in comparison and I think that is because over the years you figure out what works and what doesn't and the need to impress with fancy drills and techniques disappears. If it works, use it, if it doesn't work, don't use it!
It's good to change your mind and I don't think programme design should stand still, it's an evolving process, not a prescription that never changes.
It's important that when we say we have 10 years experience as a coach, we have 10 years experience that is evolving and changing, not just one year of experience repeated for another 9 years!
I wonder what my programmes will look like in 2020?