When preparing an athlete for any functional fitness competition the goal is the same, to be enduring, strong, skillful. In order to achieve this goal, an athlete must build an outstanding base of support.
Early models of functional fitness development usually relied on one of two things — performing random tasks with the hope that some type of adaptation would occur, or layering different sport specific models on top of each other and hoping that this would build the base of support and skills necessary for success in competitive functional fitness. However, now that the sport has been around for quite some time allowing industry-leading program design expert James FitzGerald has been able to create an Athlete Development Blueprint specifically for competitive functional fitness. This is critically important for long-term athletic development. What an athlete needs to excel and ultimately achieve the highest levels of performance in competition is directly dependent on their current stage of athletic development.
(Coach’s Resource: Athlete development is just one piece of the puzzle. If you are looking to develop a well rounded functional fitness athlete, or are a functional fitness athlete yourself, our latest digital course, Mixed Modal is your one-stop shop to prepare for the sport as a whole.)
Before designing a program, you must understand where the athlete is in their athletic lifecycle. The Mixed Modal Athlete Development blueprint breaks development down into seven stages ranging from discover to entropy. Each stage is defined by the specific systems that need to be maximized at that time of development. Each stage builds on the previous stages and creates a base of support for the next.
As you assess where the athlete is in development, you need the tools to make sure they have built a foundation. This means confirming and/or developing the appropriate systems in their prior stages of development. If you skip stages of development or the capacity within specific systems, in particular, the athlete will suffer in the long term. Learn the importance of each system and the interplay between stages with this course.
Next, it is time to design. Learn to create individualized programs based on the specific systems your athlete needs to maximize during their current stage of development and beyond. There is no go-to program. Every athlete is different depending on their sport background, training age, etc., their program must reflect their personalized needs.
When preparing for a competition it is best to first look backward. Understand where the athlete came from and how they have developed over time. Compare this to where they are going and what systems they need to develop to meet the demands of the sport, this will determine your approach and inform your program design. Learn how to spot which stage of development an athlete is in and the design for the lifecycle and specific areas of development needed to win in a competitive functional fitness competition in our latest course Mixed Modal.