My 4 Keys To Tracking Lifter Data
With posts I’ve made in the past about particular athletes and the individualization of their programs, it is a common theme that people reach out asking how I am able to sift through the data to spot these things. And honestly, I don’t do anything fancy. Some coaches find utility in more objective data collection, and I definitely do not see anything wrong with that. I have had times where I tracked more specific data and experimented with the latest stress or workload formulas (anyone remember INOL?!). But at least for me, it did not add much value and mostly cluttered my mind with information that wasn’t necessarily that useful. Over time I’ve found myself doing less in the sense of data collection than doing more, which I think is the same for any coach, as they find for them what specifically adds the most value and utility. So for me, I found 4 things to be really important in being able to sift through all the information and being able to pick up on trends within my athletes training. And if you are looking for some content here that is revolutionary or will blow your mind, this probably isn’t it. This is simple, in line with the Michael Sott K-I-S-S formula for success.
1.) I set a hard cap on my athlete count. Like I said, I’m not going to blow your mind, but I am going to be blunt and honest about issues within the industry. While maybe some coaches disagree, I am not sure how in the world I could ever focus on 70+ athletes at a time. The most I have ever coached at once is 35, and honestly for me that pushed my comfort zone a bit. And it was not even due to a total workload issue, it was just so much information to be able to recognize and still deliver equal and exceptional attention to each and every athlete. Now there are definitely coaches who coach more than 30-35 and are able to provide fantastic service, but for me that was my happy spot. Any more and I know that the quality of my service would diminish. And knowing what that point is as a coach, and being accountable to not chasing the temptations of more money or that new stud athlete and going out of your comfort zone isn’t easy at times. But that is a major key in how I’ve been able to sift through all of my athletes training and be able to pick up on data and trends that can be vital to their success.
2.) Something I started about 2 years ago was taking notes at the end of every athlete’s training block for each lift. What I found is that in the short term I could remember things fairly easily, but the multiple times a week I’d be trying to think back to prior blocks, I’d struggle to remember the variables during a certain training block and why it was or was not successful. The easy fix was just taking notes, and being detailed with them. I try to piece together what went well and what didn’t go well each block, notating any outside variables that were positive or negative, technical improvements that may have occurred during the block, and any other relevant information I may want to look back on a year from now. I even color code each lift green, yellow, or red. Green means the block went fantastic for that lift, yellow is that it was average, and red I assume you can guess is that it didn’t go so hot. This allows me to easily look back and find the info I am seeking.
3.) If you watch my YouTube channel, in many of my programming videos I discuss this, but I really try to limit myself to only changing a few variables at a time. I’m sure if you coach people, you can relate with the times where you just have a dozen ideas of what might work, but if you were to try all of them at once it would just be a mess. You might find something that works decently, but maybe you think there is greener grass out there. That is when you need to be careful how much you adjust. The more you adjust, the less you can pinpoint what variable actually was the correlating factor to success. 1, maybe 2 adjustments per lift per block can really help to limit noise and know the why behind the successes or failures of a particular training setup. I could elaborate further here, but if this topic interests you more, my YouTube video “My 3 Biggest Coaching Questions Answered” really dives into this topic. I’ll provide a link in my bio.
4.) This one may sound silly, but I make a concerted effort to provide fun names for training blocks. First, because the athlete likes it and I try to make it personal for them. But second, because it’s much easier for me to recollect on block names such as “Dogs And Training Logs Block 2” or “Get Thick and Squat A Brick Block 4” than it is to remember “Block 23”. Usually block names are used during a specific training period into a meet, offseason, or in the typical programming structure of a mesocycle. It allows me to easily remember a certain meet prep or offseason, and find it quickly within a possible 50+ tabs for an athlete. I know during “Squat More Than Clayton Talks” Heather was in meet prep, and I can find those training blocks immediately for reference. Add that to the block notes I take, and I am able to sift through past data very efficiently to find trends and things that worked or didn’t work in past training.