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The Individualization Principle

    The Individualization Principle dictates that sports training should be adjusted according to the individual age, gender, rate of progress, and previous skill development. The goal of individualization is to capitalize on the strengths while minimizing existing skill deficiencies.

   Modifications to a basic training plan can consist of adjustments that are made for individual skill differences such as physical size, weight, medical conditions, injuries, motivational, emotion, and mental level.

   It is essential that coaches and/or trainers invest the time and attention to develop a personalized training plan. The benefit that occurs is to accelerate the athlete's training progress.

Applying the Principle of Individualization
 
The goal of every coach and parent is to provide each child with the attention that makes them feel special, The following are offered as suggestions:

  • Set Clear Goals. Goals set for team results can be personalized according to position and athletes' abilities.
  • Test. Take baseline measurements and evaluation of results is the most precise way to apply this principle. In addition to fitness and skill testing, health related tests can provide implications for how to adjust training.
  • Optimize Shortcomings. Devise ways to overcome weaknesses as much as possible. For example, for athletes with low motivation, set specific goals and reward progress. For those who are naturally seem to process information and acquire skills more slowly, reduce the pace to reduce frustrating the learner.
  • Gender Differences. Be sensitive to physical as well as cultural differences. Women have wider hips, a lower center of gravity, and carry more fat in these areas than do men. Training tasks may need to be adjusted for these physical differences. Encourage and support both genders equally.
  • Positive-negative-positive. When offering feedback, reinforce the good points while pointing out areas that still require improvement. Positive reinforcement is especially helpful when an athlete has difficulties on a given day or as part of a pattern.

  • Senior Athletes. Older adults may need specific attention compared to younger athletes. Coaches should be sensitive to the fact that while the desire to perform is there the body may no longer  perform up to the standards the adult may has established for themselves. They can be very frustrated due to decreased flexibility, posture problems, and other orthopedic-related factors. Adults generally prefer to be be in control and thus involving them as active participants in making decisions in developing a training program will increase the likelihood that they will be diligent in following the training program.
  • Youth Athletes. Competitive youth sports offer children many opportunities, as well as exposing then to many physical and psychological vulnerabilities. Positive early experiences can lead the way to healthy lifetime habits. Coaches and parents need to be sensitive to such factors as the athlete's learning potential, general fitness, level of perception/motor development, and emotional physiological state. Children need positive approval, nonjudgmental acceptance, and emotional encouragement whether they win or lose.
According to Simoneau and Bouchard (1998), athletes may have different biomotor abilities (strength, speed, endurance and co-ordination) due to genetic variance in physio- logical make-up. Research data from 4 studies provided enough evidence for Simoneau and Bouchard to conclude that the considerable variation between athletes in anaerobic performance can, to a large extent, be attributed to genetic factors.

Biological and chronological age have a very important bearing on determining the optimal training loads. A preadolescent and adolescent can be further divided into prepubertal, pubertal and postpubertal stages. In each stage a young athlete can be expected to display have different physiological characteristics which requires adjustments in training loads must be carefully considered in with respect of the athlete's background. It is important that coaches recognise that biological age is more relevant for planning training loads than is chronological age

Recommended Reading:
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References:

The Individualization Principle for Sports Training The Individualization Principle dictates that sports training should be adjusted according to individual needs, such as age, gender, rate of progress, and previous skill development/experience.

Performance Coaching: The individualization of training For example, the 'principle of individualization' is one of Bompa's (1999) seven principles of training and the 'principle of individuality' is one of Rushall's seven principles of coaching.

Individualization  Individualization as an educational principle, therefore, leads to training that is modified or customized to address the needs of individual participants.

PDF] Principles of Training Theory The basic principles and processes of training, so that they can evaluate training ... about the athlete as an individual, to personalize the most effective training program for an individual.

Principles of Sports Training:

Developing Course Materials:

 Resources:

The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

    

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The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.


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