Why Use a Template?
I’ve heard a template referred to as a skeleton or outline by some coaches.
However you want to conceptualize it, all of these serve the same purpose. They are an anchor: it prevents a coach from drifting off course from a program design perspective.
There have been many variations of templates that I’ve used over the years, but they have all served that same basic purpose.
Structure Equals Freedom
According to Jocko Willink “Discipline Equals Freedom.”
The concept is within structure you are at liberty.
Once I’ve been diligent in creating a template that aligns with the training priorities and schedule of the athlete, filling in the training weeks becomes much more relaxed and open to creativity.
Basic, Single Week Templates
I want to start with a simple version of a template, and build layers of complexity after a basic understanding has been formed.
In this case simple means an athlete with only a few training priorities outlined in four to five sessions per week.
Using Two-Week Templates
The biggest change in this next layer of complexity is moving from a single week template to a two-week template.
I do this for two reasons…
(1) It allows for touches on more training priorities
CrossFit is unique in that there are so many disciplines combined into a single sport.
If you are a runner, all you really need to do is run. If you are a triathlete, you need to be good at swimming, cycling and running. If you are a CrossFit Athlete, you need to be good at countless variations of weightlifting movements, hanging and inverted gymnastics, bodyweight movements like burpees and box jumps, and cyclical movements like rowing and running.
That’s far too many priorities to fit into a single week. Spreading a template allows for all of the elements of the Sport to be accounted for without training volume or the number of sessions getting out of hand.
(2) It allows for remote coaches to have a full week of athlete training feedback / results before building out that respective week.
Let’s say it’s Tuesday and an athlete is doing a single week template. I need (or at least it’s really helpful) to have their training results from the entire week before writing their next week. So I have two options as a remote coach: (1) I can program during my regular work week and do so with only a few days of feedback, or (2) I can wait until the weekend to program once I have results from the entire week’s worth of training.
So either you are stuck writing new training without feedback or you are stuck working every weekend. There’s no right answer here.
Now, let’s say it’s Tuesday for an athlete with a two-week template, and it’s on their “A” Week. My remote athlete is out doing their “A” week session(s). Meanwhile, I’m getting ready to program their next week, which is a “B” Week. I simply look back to the previous week (another “B” Week) and I can review all of their results while programming their upcoming week.
Double Sessions & Advanced Athletes
In this final layer of complexity, I’ll add double sessions days (AM & PM) and complete it for a high-level athlete who is in a limiter phase.
There’s really nothing groundbreaking or new here, it’s just another opportunity to view the template construction process.
Overall, templates are a powerful tool that I rely heavily on as a coach.
If you’re an athlete or coach looking for someone to take you through this process, I would be happy to help. It’s my job, and it’s what I do.
Reach out and we can see if we would be a good fit for working together. Cheers!