I’ve Got a Plan, Believe Me, I Have the Best Plan

bzbxw-dcaaermds-jpg-largeThere you are, diligently drafting the outline of an athlete’s season and your attention is diverted. Sitting at the top of your social media news feed, perfectly nestled between posts on the presidential election, is yet another poignant editorial on that divisive topic referred to as periodization.  As you read, your head begins to swirl, questioning everything learned about the planning process.  Are you approaching the programming with a closed mind; are you rationalizing your own prejudices; are you assuming that humans are predictable; are you preventing yourself from making adjustments on the fly?  The internal debate rages…..

Just like a spirited conversation between a republican and democrat, the voices in your head banter back and forth about the nuances of microcycle structure, volume-load manipulation, and the expected desired responses to training regimens.  Like an independent voter looking for a home, you feel as though you are being forced to decide between parties.  On one side sits the liberals purporting that a fluid approach works best, while the conservative side of the house argues that a more uniform, block system is the only solution.

Is this polarity something that the founding fathers of training theory would support? Are these anti-periodization pundits who lobby for program-reform correct? Is the entire system in need of an overhaul? Before you vote to veto this fundamental aspect of athlete development, recall that periodization is not a system.

  1. Periodization is constitutional, as it provides a set of principles that guide the any programming process.
  1. Periodization is non-partisan, having no bias or sway toward a training methodology. In fact, you have an inalienable right to practice any form of sequential, concurrent, or conjugate programming method without prejudice.
  1. Periodization is progressive, as the athlete’s program generally graduates from multilateral development to more specific modalities over a year and career span. However, periodization reminds us that there are times when certain stages of training need to be revisited in order to maintain that progress.
  1. Periodization staunchly advocates against deficit spending, realizing that competitive readiness and athlete well-being are optimized through planned periods of recovery.
  1. Periodization calls for term-limits, acknowledging that a variation in training means should be employed to continue challenging an athlete, and perhaps prevent monotonous over-training.
  1. Periodization is judicious, asking that coaches use discernment and intelligence when building the training program. A program that embraces individuality within the dose-response relationship.

So while those career glad-handlers work to filabuster the training plan, just relax and remember that you can swiftly cruz cruise to victory using proper planning, because….Periodization asks not WHAT you plan for your athlete, but THAT you plan for your athlete.