Continuing on in our series of principles that define the Sparta philosophy, next is understanding the intent of your program. Intent is a word that has become popularized in the physical preparation world, as it helps hold us accountable to have a reason or a ‘why’ for everything that we prescribe. Intent should also refer to the overall intention of the program itself… what is the goal of training at all?
1. intention or purpose.
It is important that this intent relates back to the end goal, which in competitive sports should be winning. As coaches we need to understand that what we do is a means to an end, and the only true way to judge the effectiveness of these means, is to evaluate the ‘end.’ In athletics, and many other worlds as well, there is nothing more pertinent to the goal than availability. The best chances of winning are when the best players are healthy and ready to perform – this is known as availability, also often called readiness in military populations.
With this in mind, many coaches are conflicted by whether their program should focus on performance or injury prevention. However, with an intent of availability, performance IS injury prevention. Availability aligns these to goals with a common metric. Especially at higher levels of sport, most of the athletes are there because they have a strong history of performance. While there is certainly plenty of room to improve their performance, the first importance is availability.
This concept leads to the next layer of intent which is to prioritize addressing strengths or weaknesses. Some coaches like to focus on strengths because “that’s what got us this far.” Alternatively, others focus on addressing weaknesses because that is the limiting factor for performance. A key element of the Sparta philosophy is addressing weaknesses, as this relates back the the beliefs that movement efficiency is key and availability is the greatest ability.
The goal is to keep the goal the goal: this intent to work towards the goal through maximizing availability by addressing weaknesses and limiting factors of inefficient movement, is a fundamental principle of the Sparta philosophy.
Stay tuned as we finish covering the key principles that make up our philosophy: assessment, intent, and a systems approach. Subscribe to our blog below to make sure you don’t miss out!