This is a follow up to an article we posted on Facebook in January 2012. The article was titled “The 10 Principles of Athletic Success.” If you have questions, please know that we answer every email and phone call.
For the next 3 email newsletters, we’ll be discussing Successful Sports Task Management.
Successful task management for a sports season has many, many facets and in explaining my thoughts I will do my best to move from general to specific throughout this series. Taking a top-down approach helps to account for the variables involved and allows the day-to-day focus to remain on what is happening in the present; with a solid, principle-based structure that we have built on through experience (the past); and some degree of comfort we are heading in the right direction (toward the future). This top-down approach toward planning allows the freedom to focus on the here-and-now aspects of task management.
These principals function well as a base for decision making and problem-solving and lead us directly to our Purpose. We do our best to keep things simple and concise in order to focus on what matters to our teams.
Our Team purpose is to Learn, to Have Fun, and to Compete. We want all of our athletes learning not only sports skills to an ever higher degree but also to learn how to have fun and compete at the same time; how to train and have fun at the same time; how to balance their energies and commitments to make it all work. We emphasize that learning is a life-long process and that there is always more to know and experience.
Having fun can be tough during an exhausting training set or a critical competition – and so goes hand-in-hand with learning. We do what we can to make training and competition more fun than anxiety-producing. This focus on fun is especially important at the developmental stages of sport and carries over into high-level performance far more than many perceive. Learning the skills & rules of the sport should be made as fun as possible as well – not always an easy task for the coach!
Competing is where the rubber meets the road in sport – competitions allow us to see where our preparations have led us. We delineate competitions into 3 categories: Developmental, Important, and Critical. Developmental competitions are to get an indicator of where we are in our training, to practice at competing, and perhaps to try a new technique, strategy or tactic that we have been working on in practice. Most developing/younger athletes have mainly developmental competitions. Important competitions allow us to compete at a higher level, many times with a little added rest to get a true picture of our skills and conditioning. Important competitions might include a mid-season Invite, a league championship or perhaps the last meet of the season for the developing athlete. Critical competitions allow full display of all of the athlete’s capabilities and allow for top-level performances. We peak for critical competitions, dropping back on volume to assure full system recovery and sports performances, and this peaking phase comprises a significant portion of the end-season for the higher level athlete. Critical competitions include meets that qualify on to the next level, whether through place or on time. And we strive not to lose sight in all of the above – competitions should always include both learning and fun at some level for the athlete to find continued success.
Our purpose for our athletes individually is simply: Training, Eating, and Sleeping. This covers our main bases of both efforts expended and the regeneration required to move on to the next level. The team purposes above are incorporated into the athlete’s training, which the athlete should strive to adhere to, and then also incorporate the 10 Principles as a base to work from individually at training. More specific training task management is looked at in Part 4 of this series. Eating can be an unnecessarily complex issue that we will address in Part 3 of this series, and Sleeping we will address next in Part 2.