Charlie Francis Training System Certification Program

Over my time spent with Charlie, we had often discussed formalizing a certification program for his system. We had discussed different ideas on how to set various levels within the certification program (i.e. Level 1, 2, 3, etc) and how students would achieve their standing within the certification program. We wanted it to have a signficant practical component, where students would have to demonstrate their knowledge and coaching skill. At the same time, we want to make it as accessible as possible, so that students did not have to fly from all over the world to meet face to face - as this can be financially restrictive.

In his final years, we did manage to put together an outline for the requirements. He also passed on the sentiment that he would have allowances for certain individuals to be granted Level 1 status based on their time spent learning with Charlie, as well as those individuals who have hosted seminars with Charlie. I am working closely with Ange to try to come to a reasonably accessible program that allows many of you to get appropriately evaluated and certified.

Having said that, I have a few questions to forum members:

  • Would you be interested in participating in the program and learning more about the Charlie Francis Training System?

  • Do you feel that being certified under the CFTS would carry some weight in your profession?

  • What is the best way to reach people? Video resources, Skype, seminars, etc? We would like to provide as many options as possible?

  • How would you like to be evaluated? Case studies, quizzes, projects, video conferences, etc.?

My initial idea - shared with Ange - is to have an on-line certification program that could be carried out via video and audio resources, as well as over different social networking mediums, including video conferencing over Skype. The program would also include hypothetical workout program assignments that students would have to complete within a reasonable time frame. A work book would be created for different levels of the certification program. And, we would also evaluate you based on your progress in training athletes. In essence, there would be a theory and practical component for each level.

One area that would be of great importance to include at the outset, is the ability to plan sprint workouts. I get numerous requests on sprint programming every week, and I get the distinct feeling that many individuals are not comfortable with writing long-term sprint programs (i.e. 12 weeks in length or greater). Many people simply are copying Charlie’s short-to-long and long-to-short examples verbatim, without a greater understanding of how and why he arranged them as such. There also appears to be some assistance needed in how to integrate weights successfully with speed work.

I am open to any suggestions or requests, as I’m currently working on the content for such a certification program. As I’ve mentioned before, I have hundreds of pages of notes/workout plans, etc., and about 50 hours of video footage that can be of assistance to people interested in Charlie’s work.

I think this is an amazing idea and have been waiting for this for some time.

My 2 cents:

Have reading materials/online materials for reading and writing of a theory portion of the certification. Have a 2-4 day practical portion for certification.

The various levels could start with more applications to sport and progress to track specific, all the way up to the elite level.

To make this certification worth while, you would have to make the certification material standout from the web site and existing materials. So, a person should be able to learn more from the certification than through the website. Maybe a standardized assessment protocol from technical checkpoints to timing elements.

Very exciting

As a young coach in the world of developing athletes, i cant think of one other person or training system that I pull from more from than CFTS. The principles of the system and the hollistic approach has shaped every workout I give to my athletes. With that said I am struggling to with this idea of having a certification program. To answer your questions:

Would you be interested in participating in the program and learning more about the Charlie Francis Training System?

I am always up for learning more about the system, and I would love to participate in a program where I can learn more. But I guess it depends how the program was put together. I am all for meeting up with fellow members, webinars, podcasts, skype, you name it.

Do you feel that being certified under the CFTS would carry some weight in your profession?

While I wish my profession recognized Charlie’s work and system, in reality very few people I have come across has ever heard of him, or only knows him as the guy who gave ben… I am not sure this certification would hold up. Who knows, perhaps it will take off and will become more recognized?

My biggest fear is that this website turns into another ACE, ACSM, or another guru selling his own cert…etc. This place has enhanced my knowledge more than my kinesiology degree and ACSM certification (whiich were complete jokes as you all know.) I enjoy the current products in the store and maybe you can keep turning your footage you have into more products?

  • What is the best way to reach people? Video resources, Skype, seminars, etc? We would like to provide as many options as possible?

I suppose skype, or some type of video.

How would you like to be evaluated? Case studies, quizzes, projects, video conferences, etc.?

Due to the wide variability with the preparation of athletes, with regards to speed development, strength training, flexibility, restoration methods, planning, biomechanics, etc…IMO it might be best just to have some type of oral exam. There are many things tht aren’t so black and white, so having a conversation would allow for more of a defense and a little more in depth questioning. a written quiz just seems so limited. Actually now that I am writing this out I am a little more convinced that maybe a cert program would be a good idea.

Well, interesting idea and I’m interested in hearing other people’s thoughts as well. Keep us updated Number 2 and thanks for all the work you have put into this site.

I think some actual footage of an instructor during a session would be good way to critique training and maybe some before and after videos of an athlete after a training cycle would be good… I like the other ideas you had up there program set up/programming and work books.

I dont see why this cant happen… westside-barbell has one.

Some random thoughts:

I love the idea in theory, but I’m not sure that it would hold up. As others have mentioned, how can anyone tell certifications apart anyway? Nothing is truly “official”…and this would hold very limited weight in my profession (US College strength and conditioning)

However - what about the idea of online courses and discussions? In my opinion, people would take these types of classes for actual personal benefit, not just to get another series of letters after their name on a resume!

What about a 12 week course, for example, delivered via some online system, taken at the user’s pace? (I teach a few online classes as well, and have some knowledge of this). At the end, the “student” could claim that they successfully completed The CFTS “school”, or “sprint basics” (etc.) , and sell it as some kind of area of study, specialization, or continuing education.

Sorry for the ramblings - I’m just trying to see a way to tie this into education, not certification. (semantics, perhaps - but we’ll see):cool:

Having gone through USATF Level 1, the biggest talk amongst us in the crowd was talking about program design. When asked, the presenters said “that is what networking with other people is for.” Essentially the blind leading the blind.

By far the most common question on this forum is program design. I think a “problem solving” for program design would be interesting. In SPP, Charlie briefly mentioned reaching goals etc, but never dug into specifics on fixing it at that point. So essentially, those who are students of sprints and study many coaches, are left to find common themes among these coaches and try to figure out how to organize them into a training plan for the athlete(s) we have (as coaches).

I can’t speak to Level 1 but there are some very good coaches who have been involved in the USATF coaches education programs.

I have noticed from reading Running Risks, Speed Trap and numerous posts and writings from Charlie, as well as looking at various examples of training cycles from Dan Pfaff that span over 15 years; that these great coaches design their programs based on their knowledge and intuition at the time inside their training framework. One year they may try something slightly different or change a few things here and there but their volumes will stay similar and they just tweak things. It also tells me not to be too neurotic and obsessive about every single day of training.

I really like this idea; it would be great to get ‘help’ from a ‘teacher’ in learning all of Charlie’s methods.

Furthermore, I think it would be a must to distinguish between training for Team Sports, Sprint (or Speed) Training, and actual Track & Field events

Just to give an example of how program design educational sessions could go, I had the opportunity to work on programs with Charlie for various athlete’s of different ability. Basically, we would sit down at the computer and he would tell me the details of the workout and I would transcribe the information. In some cases he would ask me for my opinion on specific aspects like jumps or weights. For the sprints and tempo work he would give me some background on what he was trying to achieve (i.e. progressions, patterns, etc.). I was involved in workout preparation for everyone from NFL players, to Tim and Marion, to private clients in track and field (youth athletes to masters athletes).

Part of the certification process could be a walk through these workout plans to identify the key changes and adjustments Charlie was making from session to session and week to week. I have since entered much of this data into spreadsheets so that the volumes and proportions of work can be easily totalled and tracked, and distinct patterns can be seen.

Unfortunately, Charlie was always hesitant to write down workouts in his seminars because of his fear of people simply copying them and not learning the guiding principles. In fact, one of the seminars in Vancouver was purposely entitled (by me in my naivety) “Program Planning for Speed.”. Much to my chagrin, no programs resulted from that effort. I tried. It was still a good seminar.

But this is one area where we could provide a solid contribution.

I’m definitely up for giving this a shot - realizing that perhaps it might take awhile for agreement on strategic curriculum pathways and streamlined work materials. I always thought these type of programs evolve looking back on TAC coaching certification as well as Athletics Canada.

I’m up for this and think it is an awesome idea. Would love to know more about the program design and be critiqued on this.
I know many yoga courses have a 2 week live in arrangement and then from that a 12 week semester where work is done through moodle and skype. Just an idea but it would be an amazing learning experience anyway.
And thanks to Number Two for all his work on this site.

Like everyone else I’m always up for the possibility to learn more about Charlie’s methods and the way he appraoched coaching/training.

I’m with devils on this one tho… I wouldn’t care as much about having a certification (because I dont think it would mean much for me professionally) as I would increasing my knowledge for coaching and training (which I could obviously I could gain through a certification I guess)… Probably semantics like devils said but just trying to explain why I would have interest in the certification

Even if its not a certification but some type of a program/association that you can sign up for that has monthly or yearly type of events or courses that people can take part in like seminars, webinars, online classes, etc…

Sounds like a great learing oppurtunity

To my way of thinking, this is the standout area: evaluation of individual needs and customization. Everyone gives lip service to it, but very few actually implement it with any degree of competence, and I think this was one of Charlie’s key fortes. As part of this I would emphasize that athletes do not fit neatly into the typical beginner, intermediate and advanced categories that are often seen in program design discussions. For example, there may be relatively advanced athletes that require remedial work on areas of general fitness or strength endurance, etc.

I would also suggest creating some type of adjunct program related to recovery and regeneration methods. This might help fill that gap for coaches and athletes that do not have regular access to therapists. Ideally, Waldemar would have input on it. This would definitely need to have some type of hands-on training at some level.

all good points and add to that when things don’t go to plan, an athlete isn’t progressing, gets injured (physically and mentally), other things come up etc. Its dealing with those situations that IMHO really make a difference.

I am also very interested in something like this.
How “basic” are you starting, as it doesn’t take much before I’m “overloaded” with information…some of this I learn more easily, other stuff takes time…

a fantastic idea! could something be done online for us europeans?

The idea would be to make all aspects of the program accessible to everyone, regardless of distance. In some cases, we may do in-person seminars or workshops, but this would be infrequent and the video content would be available to others or could be broadcast via Skype or some other new technology.

As far as progressions and sophistication go, the initial level would be basic (and may even be redundant to many of you) but it would be a necessary step so that everyone can demonstrate their full understanding and competence in the fundamentals.

I think this should be compulsory, as without the basic or building blocks being understood nothing will be built with structure.

Numbertwo- i want to do this and honestly we must all start from the begining no matter how baic it is

once we all start singing from the same sheet we can learn together. its a fantastic idea which will do great things for this site and charlies teachings

im 100% behind you on this one and again great idea

I’m very much in agreement. In this vein I also suggest having a special section of the forum that is only open to those who have at least the Level 1 certification to ensure that people posting there are on the same page and understand the basics of the system.

One of the things that made the forum so productive when it first started was that most of the initial members had read Speed Trap and CFTS and knew both books fairly well. So people tended to be on the same wavelength in discussions. A lot of the newer members that have joined over the years have not read these books (or the newer ones), and threads often get bogged down by misunderstanding or the need to get people up to speed (no pun intended).