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- Question 1: What do I do if the number of competition hours is out of my control? My high school system competes way more than the recommended number.
- Question 2: I coach a 16U club team. LTAD recommends this age group practice 4 times a week. We can't get gym time 4 times a week. What do we do?
- Question 3: Our team practices and plays more than the LTAD recommendations. Is this ok?
- Question 4: What cue words should I use when teaching the skills?
You have a few of options. #1 is to be a catalyst for change. Encourage your school district to adopt LTAD recommendations by writing a letter or talking to teachers, principles, athletic directors and super-intendants. Research has shown that by over-competing we hamper full development and neglect skill development. #2 is to enter your team into fewer tournaments. #3 is to "train through" matches. This means coaches should not 'taper' for competition every friday (light practice on thursday). Coaches should stick with a seasonal plan that includes the appropriate amount of practice, competition, rest and recovery. Many top coaches have also looked at matches as opportunities to improve tactical systems. For example, teams have served underhand for an entire match, just to focus on blocking and defensive systems.
Volunteer club coaches are already putting in a great deal of time and many are not able to coach more hours with other commitments, even if gym time were to be available. This means athletes that have chosen to reach their full potential in the sport of volleyball, may have to seek out additional training opportunities to fill this void. For example, one or two athletes from one club team may receive individual sessions from an outside source. The Volleyball Canada Centre of Excellence model is the current plan to provide these extra training opportunities and fill this void. Volleyball Canada hopes to expand these Centres across Canada within the next 5 years. In the meantime, athletes can look to camps, clinics, or individual training sessions to help reach their potential.
Generally speaking no. The LTAD recommendations are designed to include the appropriate amount of rest. Coaches often over-look the value of proper rest. Without it, athletes will decrease performance levels, reach a state of burn out, or become susceptible to injury putting them further behind. We should also keep in mind that the LTAD recommendations are just that; recommendations. We can go slightly over or under the LTAD training hours, and continue to adjust the season plan to fit the needs of the athlete.
This is a coaching topic that VCDM considers a non-essential. It is up to the individual coach to find those cue words that work for the athletes. Often one cue word will help one athlete while another will not... or one form of feedback will help one athlete, while another will not. This is one of the great challenges of coaching; finding out what each individual athletes needs, and meeting that need.
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