written by Erica Quam
Lots of coaches ask me how to go about writing a season plan. In my sport of swimming, I think coaches are mostly asking about the x's and o's: ie. having a structured progression based on yardage totals, the breakdown of aerobic and anaerobic training, specific test sets, taper schedule, etc.
To be honest, I was never really able to work that way as a coach. I would start out trying to write out these elaborate season plans...because I thought that's what coaches had to do. I learned that the x's and o's would come - without all the need for specificity. That - to me - was more intuitive.
What was most important - for me - was to get clear on my overall vision for the team and then reverse engineer how to build it.
Here are a few typical questions I always started with:
- What activities was I going to utilize to build the foundation for the team?
- What progression was I going to implement so that athletes were learning and improving their leadership skills?
- What time was I going to set aside to have the team work on themselves: retreat weekend(s), training camp(s), championship season activities
As a coach, it's also important to have a season vision for yourself. Then to put this vision into action, split it up into 4 timeframes: daily, weekly, monthly, & quarterly to see how you will bring it to life.
Begin by looking at your bigger picture.
1. What are the 3 key areas to focus on for the success of your team in the next 90 days?
If you have many more than 3, things will get murky and under-emphasized. Clarity is powerful!
2. As a coach, what downtime will you have? What vacation will you take? What things will you implement to stay authentic and energized during this next 90-days?
Remember: Life comes first. This may be counter-intuitive. How can you possibly begin a season focusing on downtime? Coach, these are your NON-NEGOTIABLES! You have to schedule these in first and commit to taking this time away so that you can continue to be at your best. You can't go non-stop and expect to stay passionate about this profession for the long haul!
3. What will you say NO to? What limits will you set on the activities that take you away from your vision?
No can be harder to say than yes...until you get more practice saying no! We say yes because we don't want to disappoint people. Then, we get overcommitted. Keep your vision in mind and be clear on the boundaries you need to set - in your personal and professional life - to stay on track.
What ONE area will you focus on this month that can be a theme for your team?
- What do they need (more support, more challenges, more fun, more rest)?
- Where are they at (forming, storming, norming, performing)?
- What is coming up that you can prepare them for (more intensity, a lull in the season, an upcoming break, their championship season)?
What is ONE intention that you will set for YOU personally?
How would you like to feel this month? Put it out there! The universe will determine the how. Most of us have been believing our limiting thoughts for so long, that we’ve forgotten that we can ask for what we want and have the power to create or attract it.
Each week, set time aside to reflect on the week before: What went well, what didn't go well, what is my biggest takeaway?
Divide this up into two separate categories based on your ONE focus and ONE intention for the month. This will allow you to check in and see where you are on and off track.
At the beginning of the day: What 3 things am I going to get done? Which one will I start with?At the end of the day: What did I accomplish? What can I let go? What can I move to my list for tomorrow?
There are so many distractions in life and so many things that pull our attention away. Having a daily check-in keeps your overall vision in mind and keeps you connected with it. It also helps you be more grounded, focused, and productive as you work towards your overall goals.
Weigh in on which of these 4 areas would be the most beneficial for you to implement this season and why? Share your thoughts in the comments below.