Coaching Association of Canada

Exercise Sequencing Within a Practice - General Considerations

For individual training sessions to effectively contribute to the overall objectives of an annual training plan, a coach must understand the outcome of each training session and how their cumulative effects will contribute to athletic development.

Here are some tips on how to effectively sequence the activities in your training session for optimal results:

The general sequence of activities within a practice is as follows:

  1. Activities pertaining to technical or tactical skills, as well as motor abilities
  2. Activities pertaining to speed
  3. Activities pertaining to strength
  4. Activities pertaining to endurance and flexibility 

The sequence of activities in a practice addresses the need to:

  1. Optimize technical or tactical learning; and
  2. Optimize physical and psychological development.

- Activities designed to develop techniques and tactics should be performed when the athlete is well rested and able to concentrate properly. That’s why they’re often done at the start of a practice.

- Activities designed to consolidate tactics and strategies already acquired are best performed at the end of the practice so that athletes can develop endurance.

- Activities that call on psychological abilities such as concentration, emotional control, and exercise tolerance can be performed at different times during the practice, depending on the rest they require.

- Training the same element more than once in the day is NOT recommended. 

When different physiological systems are trained, athletic abilities related to these systems, such as power and capacity, should be trained in the following order:

  1. Alactic power
  2. Alactic capacity
  3. Lactic power
  4. Lactic capacity
  5. Aerobic power
  6. Aerobic capacity (endurance)

- If several practices are planned for successive days, the considerations listed above should also apply. For example:

On the morning of the first day of a microcycle following a day of rest, perform activities aiming to develop speed, technique, or alactic anaerobic system power. The central nervous system is in an optimal state to respond to these types of activities.

- In the afternoon session, aim to develop or maintain another physical ability. 

Note: The preceding information does NOT refer to the order in which to develop athletic abilities within seasonal or annual planning. Rather, it relates to the sequence of activities within one practice or within a series of practices taking place over a few days (week).

Want more information on exercise sequencing? The Advanced Practice Planning, part of the National Coaching Certification Program (NCCP) Multi-sport module series for coaches, will provide you with additional knowledge! Contact your Provincial or Territorial Coaching Representative for more details!