The expression ‘there is no I in team’ is often used in team sports to suggest that no individual’s needs, abilities or ideas should take precedence over the combined skills and efforts of the entire group. From a team culture perspective, I would tend to agree with this saying. However, the core principle of individualization also suggests that coaching and training should be based on the athlete’s actual state of training, experience, athletic potential, and characteristics. Research has clearly shown standardized training program will produce a wide range of adaptive responses, with the same training producing large, small or negative responses among different athletes. How is a coach to deal with these seemingly contradictory points?
About Xavier Roy
Xavier Roy is a Strength and Conditioning coach from Sherbrooke, Canada. He is the owner of XR Performance and teaches in the Department of Sport Studies at Bishop’s University. He holds a PhD in Education from Université du Québec à Montréal and currently works with student-athletes from many sports like football, track & field, speed skating, speed kayaking, soccer, beach volleyball and ice hockey.
Coaching is a dynamic, complex, and often chaotic process. Coaches often get caught in the continuous cycle of planning, delivering, and reviewing. At times it is essential for the coach to step back and hit pause to question this process. One question that the coach might have after a succession of those cycles is: “How do we getter better as a team?” This question might evolve into “How do I get better as a coach?” or “How do I get better as a person”?
The achievement of optimal sport performance at all levels of competition requires that athletes undertake physical, technical, tactical and psychological preparation over an extended period of time. With limited time and energy, it’s no wonder that athletes and coaches can feel they are engaged in a tug of war scenario. As Gandalf said: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.”
A planned program of preparation is the foundation that elite performance is built upon. Under normal circumstances, a coach creates a strategic plan based on a variety of factors, the athlete then executes the plan, and results follow.