Pt. 3 – Planning for Invitational and Championship Times of the Season

by contributing partner Brian Smith, Head Coach at Lone Star Gymnastics – Ft. Worth Texas. IG and Twitter – @brianlonestar Follow, Like and Subscribe on YouTube – Brian and Bryan TV

Now that we are planned up to the first meet of the season we have to start looking at the schedule and begin making decisions on how to proceed.   Begin by Identifying the championship meets and start working backwards. I begin by going to the major qualifiers and marking out six weeks for full routine work.  Remember this is not going to be exclusively full routines but it is a benchmark for me to get my focus back towards the championship meets.

Here are some Middle season Bench Marks that I use:

  • Three weeks of full routines before a meet if the meet is in the middle of the season.
  • Long Combinations between Full Routine work.
  • Short Combination/New Skill Development/Skill Refinement at ALL times.

In this case it works out where we have three weeks of Full Routine work before heading to our state meet.  Before that we end up with two full weeks of half sets and combinations. I have set the maximum amount of time for my athletes to be doing full routines without a break at six weeks.   In my experience going longer than six weeks causes the athletes to burn out and lose focus on their competition season. You may have different opinions or experience this this area. I just use what works for me.

Once you have your championship season planned out you need to work on your invitational training plan.  I still stick to the benchmark of three weeks of full routine work before a meet but I always add half sets into the mix.  ANY chance I get to not do full routines I tend take advantage of it in order to give the athletes the chance to work new skills and add those new skills into their Long Combinations.  Plus the mental break of not being on full routines is AWESOME for the athletes.

Remember, you want as much Long Combination/half sets and new skill development time as possible so that you can begin to prepare the athletes for middle season upgrades and continue to see them push themselves to prepare for next year’s skills.  This is personally an area of weakness for me and I want to make sure I have something to reference for the entire year during my planning time.

I care a lot about my athletes and it is important that you as a coach care more about them as a person than as an athlete.  One tip that I have for you is that once you hit the championship phase of your season that you begin mentally and physically preparing the athletes for the next season.  Doing this correctly will help you maintain athletes and get the athletes motivated to finish strong this season. Championships is exciting and you shouldn’t have athletes thinking their net worth as an individual is based on their results in ANY competition.



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