This is my 7th year working running the Athletic Development/Strength & Conditioning program at Immaculate Heart Academy high school in New Jersey. Every year I start by writing down some basic principles as well as some new ideas. The goal of this practice is to make sure that things that I do on daily basis in coaching are driven by the goals and the overarching philosophy for the program. It is like checking your compass to make sure you are moving into right direction.
In the picture above you can see some of the key areas, such as motor learning, communication and behavior/culture. For me it is important to create a mind map that describes the 'big picture' of the program. I do this because it helps me choose the methods or strategies and the tools to achieve the desired goals. Many of the goals are not physiological at all and have to do more with building traits such as accountability or leadership. The weight room is one of the best places to include lessons for life in general and for being part of a team, of course.
As each athlete and coach are unique, so is the environment you work in. So the philosophy and the culture might not emphasize the same things as another program, even at a high school level. I have found it liberating to build the program according the individual qualities of the athletics program and according the strengths of the people involved instead of following or copying the program from somewhere else - that never works anyway. I didn't want to call our program 'Strentgh and Conditioning program' although we do plenty of of strength and conditioning. For us, Fitness & Performance- or Athletic Development -program just works better as a term.
Part 2 will discuss more practical issues, such as athlete 'buy-in' and 'programming'.