Letting Go: Don’t they know how meticulous all my planning has been?

ClipboardI spend time investing emotionally when writing and developing my programmes. I want them to be simple and elegant as they address the needs of both the individual and their sport. I also want to make sure there is a kind of progression in place which support the physical development through the phases of the year. I enjoy watching the programme unfold, seeing my athletes advance physicaly, and feeling a sense of satisfied security because I know my programme is planned.

Then an athlete gets sick, sessions are cancelled, work/school impacts their well-being (stress, poor sleep, etc..), practices are more taxing then originally intended, or just poor attendance. Suddenly I am upset. I feel emotionally rejected and penalized. I admit, I take it personally. Don’t they understand the importance of my sessions to their performance? Don’t they know how meticulous all my planning has been and if they miss chunks it will mean they don’t progress? My stress levels rise, I feel like saying, “what’s the point?” This has bothered me for some time now and I have definitely struggled to come to a satisfying medium.

It reminded me of a coach who spoke to me early in my development. He said that I shouldn’t feel stunted or limited by what I had written on paper. At the time I thought, easy for him to say. If I don’t plan, research and reflect then that doesn’t make me an effective coach. That makes me a haphazard coach with no real goal achieving strategies. To be fair, he did tell me he wasn’t suggesting I don’t do any of the above, what he was saying was just because it is written down doesn’t mean you HAVE to do it.

I admit to being a fairly black & white person when it comes to stuff like this. I either want full adherence or want to say ‘whatever’. I even admit to having kind of gone that way recently with regards to some of my coaching sessions where attendance by the team has been extremely sporadic (some train 5 times a week, some 3, some 2, some none). I have had no strategy for coping with this and as a result everyone had suffered (including my own well-being).

I needed a solution. It made me think about sport playing principles. You have your principles but they are not set-in-stone routines. Just an understanding of what is good play and the guidelines to help when facing choices on the field. The benefit of this is ADAPTABILITY under PRESSURE. I realised that I am not adaptable under pressure. I have my coaching principles, but I don’t have my planning & session principles (I would like to point out these are not mutually exclusive but fully integrated co-dependent principles between planning & session realisation). This has been a fairly recent discovery and I admit to not having an idea of what this will actually look like in my toolbox. I just know that by changing my mindset towards the task at hand, new possibilities and strategies are starting to bloom in my mind. I feel like I can finally let go and not get the rising panic.




Jools Murray 2Jools is an accredited Strength & Conditioning coach from Canada and has worked with some of the World’s best athletes in the UK and her home country.  Currently working at the University of Toronto, (Canada) with a number of sport, Jools previously worked with the English Institute of Sport whilst studying for her Masters in S&C, as well as coaching the U23 GB Ultimate Frisbee Team.