Many coaches seem to underestimate the benefits of documenting training sessions and keeping training journals. From improving technique and boosting efficiency to providing clear direction for lessons, training journals are extremely helpful for both coaches, as well as athletes.

Geoff Twentyman, who was Liverpool Football Club’s Chief Scout between 1967 and 1985, began using this method by making meticulous notes after each scouting and training trip he made during his career. The method was passed down to his peers, with coaches noting down different aspects of their work, from training, recovery, and tactical approaches in varying situations.

The journals eventually became the reference point whenever the club was faced with similar situations, allowing them the luxury to judge whether to take a similar approach or not.

Top coaches have been keeping training journals to aid them in improving team performance and efficiency. Bottom line is – every coach should be journaling regularly, and documenting decisions taken and the reasoning behind them.

Here’s why.

1. They provide written records of athletes’ progress

Keeping written records to document athletes’ journeys, and how they’re performing is essential in keeping track of their progress. Making notes of how they’re improving, what aspects they should be focusing on, and where they may need some guidance is important to help improve their overall performance, and also build their confidence.

2. Helpful in tracking what’s been covered in the lesson

The fact is, we can’t always rely on our memory. So it’s helpful to make notes of what’s being covered and what’s being discussed in the lesson either while you’re coaching, or shortly after the lesson when it’s all fresh in your mind. Keeping a record of this allows you to look back and review previous lessons to come up with main takeaways of the lesson, and share them with the team.

3. Allows coaches to give accurate and honest feedback

When you’ve got a training journal for notes, it gives you accurate records of what you were thinking at the time. People tend to make overly positive or negative predictions if they were to rely completely on their memory. So having those notes to refer back to allows you to remember exactly what you were thinking in that moment – allowing you to give accurate and honest feedback to your athletes.

4. Improves athletes’ learning

Many coaches have cited that having training journals have improved their athletes’ learning. Reading notes from their coaches gives them a chance to look at the game from a coach’s point of view and learn how to deal with situations that the other team (or competitor) has presented. It aids them in understanding where they may be doing well, and where there might be room to improve.

5. Gives athletes more clarity and direction

A journal documenting trainings gives athletes an overview of what was important in each lesson. If you’re supplementing your lessons with video analysis, having a written guideline on what to look out for and what your athletes should be focusing on in the videos will give them more clarity and direction.

Sprongo’s blog feature for USSA coaches

To help coaches get the best out of their lessons, we’ve introduced Team Blogs. This will work as a hub for your team, and will allow you to add blogs documenting team progress, as well as lesson tracking.

Using video analysis for your athletes is a great way to build team performance, but we’re wanting to guide coaches in taking it a step further. Instead of leaving analysis to your athletes, use Sprongo’s Team Blog as a journal for athletes to use as a reference for their training.

It’s essentially an online training journal for the whole team!