5 Critical Mistakes Coaches and Athletes Make with their training

USP - 5 crticial mistakes coaches and athletes make with their training

It has been my experience that athletes rarely receive proper physical training. I’ve compiled a list of the most common mistakes that occur in the physical training process. An awareness of these mistakes will ensure you aren’t inadvertently decreasing your performance or contributing to injury:

1. The athletes’ physical abilities are NOT assessed.
This means the athlete’s physical abilities have not been tested. If there is no testing or assessment process, how does the coach or athlete know what their weaknesses are or if the training is actually improving their performance?_


2. The athletes training is NOT individualised.
If all athletes are doing the same training, this is a sign that the training process is flawed. No athlete is identical, in terms of strengths, weaknesses, skill level, body shape, age or ability. If the training is not individualised how can the athlete expect to reach their potential if their weakness is not worked? By having a thorough assessment the coach can devise an individualised training program for the athlete. If an athlete has great endurance, but leg speed is a weakness and the coach has the all the athletes performing endurance training, the athlete that already has great endurance will not improve their leg speed. Therefore, the athlete will never reach their full potential due to poor coaching and a lack of individualisation in the training process. 

Bodybuilder Skinny
 These 2 men would require vastly different nutrition and training programs!

3. The athletes’ training is Not Specific to the actual sport.
This poses some major problems. The athletes’ physical qualities improve but their sports performance does not due to a lack of transference!

At junior sporting levels a few well meaning coaches attempt to enhance the physical abilities of their athletes with running, resistance training, cross training and yoga. But the majority of this training is unstructured and not specific or relevant to the sport because the coach does not have a clear understanding of the physiological demands and requirements of the sport.

For example, many junior team sport coaches have their players run long distances in order to ˜get fit’. The junior coaches are unaware that running long distances, increases the number of over-use injuries, decreases speed, decreases power, decreases flexibility and does not develop transferable fitness onto the sporting field.

Marathon Sprinter
If you require explosive power why do you train like a marathon runner?

4. Too much emphasis on skill training.
Historically, junior coaches of team sports over emphasise skill training whilst neglecting to develop the athletes’ physical qualities. Often coaches continue to repeat drills and skills with poor execution. In the misguided belief that skill development is simply a matter of practice and that practice makes perfect.


Many coaches do not realise that performing poorly executed skills time and time again does not actually improve the skills of the athlete and actually serves to make it more difficult to correct the skills at a later date due to poorly developed motor patterns and motor programs.

imperfect skill execution
This isn’t exactly perfect practice or perfect skill execution

The team sport coach needs to address the underlying problem which is usually a physical weakness that can be corrected with the appropriate physical conditioning.

5. No concept of Long Term Athlete Development strategies.

So what exactly is Long Term Athlete Development? (LTAD)

LTAD is the theory that the physical qualities of the athlete should be developed according to the long term goal of the athlete and in conjunction with the growth and development of the athlete.  A number of scientists have concluded that there are critical periods in a young athletes’ life cycle, when the effects of training can be maximised. This has led to the belief that young people should be exposed to specific types of training during periods of rapid growth and that the types of training should change with the patterns of growth. This is achieved through optimal training, competition and recovery throughout an athlete’s career.

           10 Signs of no Long Term Athlete Development

1. LTAD principles are not covered in depth in junior coaching education courses
2. Under-training and over competing of junior athletes
3. Training at junior levels is focused on winning.
4. Adult training and competition programs are superimposed on junior athletes
5. Chronological age is used instead of training age
6. Early specialisation; junior athletes play 1 sport instead of multiple sports
7. No systematic process for developing athletes
8. No distinguishable training philosophy
9. No goals or specific outcomes from the physical training
10. Too much emphasis on winning rather than development outcomes

The problems and consequences of No Long Term Athlete Development

1. General motor skills are not learned resulting in technical skill deficiencies
2. Irreparable damage is done athletes never reach their full potential
3. Injuries due to inappropriate training and competition loads
4. Early developers burn out
5. Late developers drop out
6. Mediocre athletes and competitions

Ensure you or your coach Do Not make these 5 Crucial Training Mistakes. Seek out the experts to help guide your training to guarantee you reach your full potential!