Happy New Year!
What better way to begin 2021 than by beginning with the end in mind. We last left off discussing how my graduate program at SUNY Fredonia aligns with coaching. Beginning with the end in mind in graduate school lends itself to beginning with the end in mind with coaching. The end I will be discussing today in part 2 is preparing for our outdoor conference championships in the spring semester.
This is a very unique year. With COVID still running wild and wreaking havoc on collegiate sports programming across the country, this plan will provide a unique look at preparing for an outdoor championship (that may or may not even take place).
For the sake of this article, I’m going to guesstimate that our outdoor conference championship meet will be held on Friday, April 30th and Saturday, May 1st, 2021. I’m just guessing. Now if we count backwards, our seasonal plan would look something like this:
Conference Championship Week--April 30th - May 1st
March 28-April 3
February 28-March 6
January 31-February 6
Up until our conference championship meet, our weekly programming begins on Sunday. Our week concludes on meet day, which is typically Saturday. Again, I’m really guessing here because I’m not sure if we will have any meets on Friday besides our two day conference championships. For all intent and purposes, we may only have our conference championships on Saturday. As you can see, it really doesn’t leave us a lot of time to train and prepare. We have 16 weeks until our conference championship week.
From my perspective, this really isn’t a lot of time to prepare. Our athletes at Alfred State return to campus for in-person classes on February 1st. Our indoor season is still in doubt, so our plan right now is to move forward with a successful outdoor campaign.
Now that we have our weeks figured out, we’ll need to look at individual preparation for my athletes. I’ve had some conversations with them individually since we have been on break. Some have access to training equipment. Some have some throwing implements. They have all received programming and basic outlines they can follow while they are home. Those athletes that sit around until practice on February 1st will have missed out on about 8 weeks of training.
At this point, communicating expectations is really important. And again, everything is based on individualized action plans for your athletes. When I was coaching at Fredonia and Nazareth, each athlete’s season was based on realistic expectations. For example, at Fredonia, we have a really good feeling that Julia was going to qualify for nationals each season. Beginning with her sophomore season, she competed at 3 indoor and 3 outdoor national championships. Similar with Luis at Nazareth. We knew his senior year was going to be big, so we planned around that. For many athletes across the country, their season usually concludes with their conference championships. At this point, only 20 athletes per gender and event attend nationals. That leaves many hundreds of athletes preparing for either the outdoor season or the following indoor season.
In my next installment, beginning with the end in mind, I’ll provide you with a sample program that can be implemented with your athletes based on the parameters discussed in this article.
Dr. Charles Infurna
Charles Infurna, Ed.D., is the owner and lead coach of Forza Athletics Track Club. Dr. Infurna has coached National Record Holders, National Champions, All-Americans, and Conference Champions at the Post-Collegiate, Collegiate, and High School level.