The fitness trainer is now becoming accepted as a necessary member of the modern coaching team. This new coaching model has the Head Coach leading a team of specialist coaches, therapists and sports scientists. For example, the head coach is accompanied by a secondary technical coach, a physiotherapist, a psychologist, a fitness trainer and a physiologist, with each performing their specified role, but communicating and working as a team.

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    For elite sports, the trainer should be able to design workouts that cover all relevant fitness areas – strength, flexibility, agility, aerobic and anaerobic endurance and speed. These workouts must be both specific to the sport and suitable for the level of the athlete.

    In addition, the trainer should be able to assess fitness levels, understand physiological and biomechanical test data, liaise with physiotherapists regarding injury prevention and rehabilitation and also be able to pass on sound nutritional instruction.

    This job description, if carried out to full capacity, requires a great deal of expertise and experience and is likely to be beyond the knowledge base of most head coaches. Thus, the advantage of using a specialist fitness trainer is that he or she has the specific skills, experience and time to optimize the physical preparation of the athlete.

    The purpose of this presentation is to explain the principles behind designing a sports specific fitness program and describe some of the important training methods that should be employed. Specifically I will discuss fitness assessment procedures, analysis of the fitness demands of a sport, strength and power training, balance and stability training, endurance training and speed and agility training.

    Fitness Assessment & Needs Analysis

    The principles behind designing sports training programs are analogous to the methods used by corporate management consultancy firms. When asked to provide a business solution, a management consultancy firm will begin by establishing the goal the client wants to achieve.

    They then assess the client’s current status, systems, markets, etc. The final step is to calculate what is required to bridge the gap between the client’s current status, and what they need to achieve their business goal.

    This final step is called gap analysis. The plan they implement is based completely on the outcome of the gap analysis. This gap analysis model is exactly how a sports fitness program should be designed.

    • Step 1 is to set the athlete’s or team’s goals – what do they want to achieve.
    • Step 2 is to assess the athlete’s or team’s current level of fitness. This assessment must cover all the relevant fitness areas specific to their sport or event.
    • Step 3 is the gap analysis, which is calculating the difference for each fitness component between the current and ideal fitness levels.
    • Finally, Step 4 is designing the training program that will improve each respective fitness area to the required level.This Example Should Clarify The Situation.