“Beware of the myth of building a base … always ask yourself – A base of what?” – Dan Pfaff

Anytime I am planning a General Preparation Period (GPP) I always keep the above quote in mind.

A base of what? Endurance? Speed? Strength?

In my mind we need a base of Movement.

For this GPP we have 3 priorities.

  1. Synergy in Movement (Power)
  2. Support Work for SPP and CPP
  3. Lifestyle

Synergy in Movement

Just as the title claims I want all movements to work together. I want to see similarities in foot dynamics within Sprint Drills, Olympic lifts, and Plyometrics.

Simply we should see commonalities in all three.


This synergy enhances the athlete’s ability to stay injury free. It makes no sense to coach one way on the track and another in the weight room — and the reasons are not centered around “Transfer” via the weight room.

It’s simpler that that.

It’s not how much they are loading the bar or how an athlete mimics sprinting movements via strength exercises, its’ how they are loading joints and soft tissue structures.

We want synergy so we don’t have to chase problems via therapy or recovery modalities.

Hamza has progressed well this last year as it pertains to hitting positions during drills and jumping activities. Now that we have a little more time we will break down power development exercises specifically Snatch, Clean, and Jerk Variations (lighter load – technique emphasis) with the focus being full foot power development.

Support Work

Another goal of GPP is to do work that supports the specific work carried out in (SPP & CPP).

Probably a mashup of my endurance background and influences of Anatoliy Bondarchuk (Transfer of Training Vol.I & II, as well as The Olympian Manual for Strength & Size) but I Like the idea of never going too far away from the specifics and simple  categorizing of training.

Bondarchuk’s classification goes as follows:

1. Competition exercises – essentially,
these exercises are the discipline in which the
athlete is competing. They are applied both in
competition and the training process. In the
training process they can be repeated under
competition conditions or they can be made
either easier or more difficult.


2. Exercises for Specific development
– exercises that replicate single parts of
the competition movement. Either the same
muscle groups or a major part of the groups
used in the competition movement are engaged
and the same systems and organs
used in competition are activated. With the
help of these exercises one can effectively and
selectively influence different physical abilities
and these exercises promote optimal training
condition. The level of ability and condition
attained via these exercises is realised in the
complete competition exercises.


3. Exercises for Special Preparation
– similar to the exercises for general development,
these do not replicate competition
movements either totally or partially, but the
muscle groups engaged can be the same as
those used in the competition movements.
These exercises activate the functions and
systems of the organism that influence performance
in the athlete’s main discipline.


4. Exercises for General Development
– exercises where competition movements
are not replicated either totally or partially and,
instead, other muscle groups are engaged.
These exercises do not lead directly to enhancement
of the competition result but promote
many-sided development, have a positive
effect on the levels of general working capacity
and coordination, and promote recovery.

No matter the sport this part of the planning will always take place. The outcome will look something like this. (Sport of Weightlifting can be found here)


This is obviously a poor knockoff of Coach Evely and Tyler’s work off of UCoach, but it’s simple enough for me when it comes to planning. All of the above categories are in play at all times during the whole year. The shape just morphs throughout the season in emphasis.


This is also mirrored in how we will monitor Hamza. Loose in GPP — making interventions in extreme cases (Ex: low DC potential on Accel/Coordination days will resort to plan B) and tight through SPP/CPP — looking for optimal windows for specific work.


This is truly 1# on my list. Without this part everything above is just words on paper. This is also the part that Hamza has to own and be accountable for. Chaos in life will only lead to chaos on the track.

Like I mention in Feedback Analysis  Hamza in the past was successful despite living an athlete’s lifestyle — now a bit older we need a different approach.

We have underwent the first round of blood work and are collaborating with Dr. Culleton (Central Texas Integrative Medicine). Culleton is unique for a Functional Med Doc both being an athlete himself and working with elite athletes in the past. His perspective has been instrumental in helping Hamza understand Quality of food is key and you can’t out supplement a crap lifestyle.

Priorities going forward: More Quality Fats, Quality Nutrients — Vegetables, and Improve Meal Frequency.

The basics, but sometimes an athlete needs to hear it from someone other than myself. This usually depends on the level of stubbornness an athlete possesses — Hamza has plenty.

The only hiccup we are facing is meal frequency through Ramadan. This will mean an early rise and will consist of good protein source and smoothie (spinach, fruit, protein powder, etc) every morning. We will move workouts to the evenings so Hamza can refuel right afterwards and the majority of the workouts through Transition (2 weeks) will be in the pool — a way to beat the Texas heat for an athlete we know is coming in dehydrated.

Sleep will be another quality we track. In the past he has averaged around 7.5hrs of sleep per night — with a caveat of 20+ moments of restlessness at times. This is now something we will be writing in on the training plans. The goal will be more sleep on nights after speed/strength sessions (8.5hrs). This is to balance out imposed stress with recovery — and being mindful of it. He has made the investment of a new mattress in effort to help with the moments of restfulness and we believe once nutrition is improved this quality will improve as well — data on this to come hopefully in future posts.

Now this lifestyle portion may seem a bit controlling from an outsider’s perspective, but I believe if you can’t adapt from the workloads — why do it? This last year we have taken a Short to Long approach in planning, even though he is a Long to Short athlete. Hamza wants to feel fit before he can feel fast and enjoys doing longer repeats/sets of special and specific endurance. Yet after the initial assessment when we first started working together (RMSSD of 40) I knew we had 2 options. Low volume of slow running or low volume of fast running. Lifestyle forced my hand to choose the latter. This year we will be planning on a Long to Short approach and I will post details of workouts and monitoring data throughout the year.


By: Aaron Davis