Individual programming, the who, what, how & why.
Firstly, what. We would class individual programming as when an athlete decides to step away from class to do their own thing, this could be self programmed or by another coach/organisation. This programming could be individual to the athlete or part of a group. For instance one to one coaching or a competitors/strength cycle.
How, as mentioned above, athletes will normally pay for individual coaches or organisations to provide them with daily programming. This could be either through the internet, word of mouth or internally within their own gym.
Why, the why is normally the simplest. They are wanting to work on a weakness or feel individual programming will offer them more.
Finally who, now the who could be anyone. From someone who has spent 1 day in the gym to someone who has spent 1 year, programmes are available and accessible for all ability levels.
So why this post, in the rest of this blog we are going to address the good, the bad & the ugly of it all. As always we will start with the ugly, and while individual programming may seem sexy the ugly side for us coaches is seeing someone who isn't suited, or not ready for it. Now as mentioned above, there is programming available out there for people on day 1 but we probably wouldn't recommend it to anyone within the first 6 months of your journey. With group programming we tend to find a lot of movements aren't scaled properly, meaning a beginner athlete could not only be doing a scaling inappropriate for themselves but also a full movements. As well as this you aren't actually receiving any coaching, your form cannot be corrected, your not being educated on movements & your not getting taught the movement patterns and basics that we need. Even for someone 6-12 months in to their journey this can still stand true.
The bad, this comes mostly down to the individual as well in some cases the coach. When we come to the good you will see how the good coaches are the ones who have been working with & have access to high level athletes, have masses of experience themselves competing & coaching as well teams of experts around them. However these are few & far between and if you carry out the proper research should never happen to yourself. So then the bad comes down to the athlete, studies have shown that the amount of work completed in open gym is roughly 20% of that in class, alongside this without a coach there, an athlete is prone to sandbagging and cherry picking workouts. The athlete has no level of accountability and without the correct drive can be wasting both time & money (trust me i've been there & done it)
So finally the good, the good are sooooo goood! What these coaches know about programming & periodization will keep you on your toes for a lifetime. You can expect cycles & blocks, peaking for competitions, working on your weaknesses, expert help with nutrition, injury recovery and lifestyle as well as planning all this around your daily, weekly, monthly or even yearly schedule.
So with that being said when is it & is not right, at the end of the day that decision is yours, but we can give a few guidelines for when, as coaches we would think it's suitable.
1. You are aiming for regional competitions such as sanctionals & or placing within the top 20 consistently for local competitions.
2. You are recovering from a serious injury through rehabilitation which may be beyond your gym coaches knowledge.
3. You work shifts or offshore, meaning you can not attend class on a regular basis or lack of equipment.
4. You have outgrown your box, we sometimes see athletes go above and beyond what their box programmes and may need an extra push.
At the end of the day the choice is yours, but before you jump into it, have a think.
Can I speak to my gym coach about small extra programs? Do I really need this to reach my goals with individual programming? And is it worth it to myself?