In his nearly 50 years of coaching, Vern quickly learned the need to adapt the training plan to the athlete and has run into all types of different individuals along the way. On this episode of the GAINcast we have a Q&A with Vern on individualization, the July HMMR Media site theme. We cover a variety of topics such as when to start individualization, how to individualize in team sports, the role of testing, and more.
Notes and quotes
In addition to the topics above, we also look at many other aspects of individualization including the role of strengths and weaknesses, observing athletes, individualization of coaching, labeling athletes, and more.
- 3:00 – From the basics to individualization: “The basics are non-negotiable, but individualization is built on top of that. No matter the sport, there is an element of speed needed, but people have different speed qualities you need to bring out. ” “The earlier in the process we understand individual differences relative to the basics, the better off we are able to develop the athlete. “
- 6:15 – Observation before individualization. “You have to watch the athletes from day one; the quicker you can get them on their path the better to encourage them. “
- 10:30 – The role of testing in individualization: “The biggest mistake I made as a younger coach is that the first thing we’d do was test. “
- 14:30 – Individual training in a team setting.
- 16:30 – Planning: “Developing an individual player improvement plan by bringing together all the stakeholders, the athlete, define the priorities, and follow up. “
- 21:15 – Youth athletes and when do you start the individualization question. “At the youth level you aren’t trying to accomplish individualization, you’re trying to get them to pay attention and have fun. Once you get to peak height velocities you have to start taking into account individual differences. “
- 24:00 – What to individualize and what not to.
- 26:00 – Labeling athletes, coaching twins, and other examples. “Grouping athletes can be helpful, but don’t forget that each athlete is different. Keep asking the questions. Training response is not binary. “
- 32:15 – Training to strengths or weaknesses. “Athletes need to focus on what makes them good, but if there is a weakness that is keeping them from the next level, of course that fits into the equation. ” “We always look at an athlete and say ‘if they could only do that’, but pretty soon they can’t do the other things that got them to that level. “
- 37:30 – Individualization and coaching.
To hear more about these topics you can listen to the full episode above. If you like what you hear on the GAINcast, don’t forget to give us a review and subscribe on iTunes.
The following links were referenced in the podcast or provide some additional reading material on the topic:
- The monthly theme on HMMR Media is the individualization, with numerous articles, podcasts, and videos looking at the topic from different perspectives. Join HMMR Plus so you don’t miss all the content on this topic.
- If you like the podcast, don’t miss our latest book Training Talk: Conversations with a Dozen Master Coaches for more in-depth insights on training from some of the world’s top coaches.
- Individualization is a topic closely linked with the basics. Individualization can help tailor the basics and build upon them. We defined the basics on GAINcast 126 last week.
- We discused the role of strengths and weaknesses. I have written previously about a framework for evaluation weaknesses and an example from Ashton Eaton’s training. This was also a topic on HMMR Podcast Episode 16.
- Another prior episode referenced this episode was GAINcast 25 with Paul Davis.