The Annual Plan

I’ve never quite understood how a coach can develop training programs properly without having an annual plan set up.  I’ve known many coaches who just “have it in their head,” but in reality we all forgets important details when it comes down to it.  Other coaches just plain don’t have one and training becomes a random assortment of exercises, reps, sets, weights, periods, etc. 

Annual Plan Example  

Without one coaches never know where they’re going or where they’ve been. 

 Having an annual plan set-up helps to decipher loads of information.

  • Helps determine where to change the emphasis of your program (ie: cycling volume, intensities, motor skills, etc.)
  • Accounts for appropriate deload / unload / rest and recovery weeks instead of training for 14 weeks and deloading for a week prior to maxing out. 
  • Determine future, and current volume, and intensities based on past volume, and intensities.
  • Denotes the most important dates, and competitions.
  • Allows for oversight of the entire training cycle / cycles

As we go through the year I make notes on what I need to change for the next training year.   Once my annual plan is set up I begin filling in the details of specific exercises, volumes, and intensities.  This process is relatively easy as my training for the most part already done. I started my first annual plan when i was working with the women’s soccer team at Missouri State Univ.  The model I followed at the time was that given by Joe Kenn.  It was somewhat crude, and there are tons of things I do differently now but it still gives me a great overview of what and how I modeled our training back then.  Each year I can look at my annual plans and see how our training how changed, hopefully for the better.  I have always been a big believer in 3 week cycles.  Once a 3 week cycle is coming to a close I can go to my annual plan to see what intensities I should be aiming for and then fill in the details. 

2003-2004 Annual Plan

 Above all, the annual plan to me is about a coach being organized.  Having plans set-up allow for feedback from the weeks, and months of training.  Annual plans aren’t something that are set in stone but they allow a guideline for the coach through the sports training process.   

If your unfamiliar with creating annual plans the following article is a great resource.  It covers a lot in the form of periodization, but that can be essential in knowing when it comes time to create your training program  It’s good enough that I have included it into our internship program as part of the programming chapter. 

Annual Training Program  

Once you have a model in place you can make future changes based upon the result that was achieved.  If poor sporting form was the end result, annual plans help to decipher what can be altered to achieve the results necessary.  Without a plan the training process is a blind one.  How can coaches properly plan and account for peaking, deload weeks, volumes, etc. when there is no plan to follow.  If spectacular results are achieved, what was it over the past 6 months that led us to those results, or what do we need to do differently to achieve higher results. 

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