The Layering Approach to Coaching

Because time is linear we often think of training plans as linear. First we do this, then that then finish with the other. But what if we didn't think of training plans in a linear way, but in layers?

With the Layering Approach to Coaching, you are trying to see how many things you can work on at the same time.

For example, your warmup might be to run 5 laps of the court. Then stretch. Then pepper. For 30 minutes total. The training outcomes will be to warmup the players physically, perhaps do some injury prevention, and work on skill development.

But if you spent this 30 minutes layering training outcomes you could work on aerobic base, ball tracking and control, physical literacy, decision making, social development, skills and competitiveness. This warmup would be:

  • Running with a ball, bouncing, catching, throwing, setting
    • Aerobic base development
    • ball tracking and control
    • decision making
    • social development
    • physical mobility
  • Lunges, thoracic mobility
    • physical literacy
    • injury prevention
    • optimising skill learning
  • Three person pepper building to competition
    • skill development
    • decision making
    • competitiveness 
    • physical development (lower body)
So, in the same period of time you could do exponentially more, just by tweaking the drills and being a bit more active as a coach.

Another example: you could do serve/pass by having passers pass and everyone else serve. Or, you could get more out of it by tweaking the drill:
  • have 3 passers on the court
    • skill development
    • decision making
    • ball tracking
    • game play development if you put the passers in the orientations they are likely to pass in during matches
  • have a whistle for every serve
    • routine development for passers and server
  • add the front row middle and setter
    • more skill development, decision making, ball tracking and game play development because in games the middle has to be able to pass
    • setter movement development
  • add that the setter has to set outside, pipe or middle
  • Add that they have to run X successful plays or they have to go off and a different group comes in
  • Add blockers
    • I think that you get the idea
Again, in the same period of time you can work on exponentially more things.

Try it out - get more layers into you training plans and your teams will improve faster than their peers!


(Photo Credit)

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