Do S&C coaches require better strategies to prosper in the industry?
An insight into P.A.C.E planning for S&C coaches
- What is P.A.C.E planning?
- P.A.C.E planning your career as an S&C Coach
- P.A.C.E planning your strength & conditioning sessions
PACE planning is a military acronym used to describe communications strategies used in every imaginable eventuality in combat. The goal is to try to mitigate points of failure within the communications system, to ensure the highest possible level of success in that situation is achieved.
This system has been extended and accepted beyond just communication by military personnel, into just about all areas of their mission planning, training, simulation exercises and education delivery.
As coaches, we can and should be taking lessons learned from the military and business worlds, to broaden our understanding of effective planning and execution strategies. As such this article will use the P.A.C.E planning principles in two areas where coaches can plan more effectively to avoid losses in time, energy, stress and income. The two cases outlined in this blog post are 1) career development and 2) a strength & conditioning session
What is P.A.C.E planning?
Outlined below is an overview of the concept of P.A.C.E planning:
The first choice, best case scenario method used to achieve the desired outcome.
A Plan B. The secondary and next best option if the primary and best-case scenario fails.
This is less convenient and effective. But, the desired outcome can still be achieved. However, this is sometimes at a cost.
If all else fails, then this is the worst-case scenario. This can be used to avoid being severely compromised.
P.A.C.E planning your career as an S&C Coach
Running your own, successful and secure Strength & Conditioning business with freedom and time to develop and grow this business over time.
Full time employment with a stable income and job security in a Strength & Conditioning sports role of your choice, running a successful supplementary revenue stream alongside with good work and life management.
A number of part-time or small Strength & Conditioning roles which provide a good, stable income with a side hustle or opportunity to collaborate as a secondary income.
Stable income options that may include some outside of coaching or have general responsibilities where skills can be re-applied in coaching. Build connections and drive networking build links to establish new primary choices.
The general premise of the career P.A.C.E plan is to have an exit strategy at each point to ensure you are not financially compromised should the primary options fall through.
P.A.C.E planning your strength & conditioning sessions
Athletes arrive to the session feeling good and require no session adjustments and have no time restrictions. The whole session completed is as prescribed and, in some cases, performance is exceeded beyond what was expected.
Athletes arrive slightly sore or have a time restriction. The session is slightly adjusted, and the session is adjusted appropriately based on the athlete’s state and/or time.
Athletes are very sore, or the session has a significant time cap. The session is adjusted to work on technical movement competency, mobility, active recovery, athlete education and rapport building.
The session cancelled. The athlete is injured, can’t make it due to unforeseen circumstances or hasn’t turned up. Schedule a time to check-in with the physio and athlete to begin return to function, play and perform strategies or contact the athlete to re-arrange session and/or prescribe missed work to compensate for the missed workload.
In summary, the principles of P.A.C.E planning can be applied to multiple areas by the coach. The framework can be beneficial in an to attempt to get upstream of issues, variables and eventualities which aren’t always within the control of the coach.
As coaches, you cannot control everything, but you can employ a multi-layered approach to your thought process which cover the major bases. What transpires as a knock-on effect of strategic thinking is an increased ability to adapt on the go to unforeseen situations. This reduces the negative impacts of them and gives the coach the skill of thinking multiple steps ahead.