Think of driving. In most cases when you get in a car, you have a destination picked out.

— James.C. Radcliffe

Planning a year or season in advance can be very complicated or fairly simple. The concept of periodization has been around for decades. It’s a multi-layered process and it can be defined as a long-term structure of training and practice to maximize performance to coincide with the competition schedule.

In the 60s sports scientists began to talk about the problem of periodization of athletic training. In order to achieve best results at time of a competition, some scientists came up with the idea of periodizing athletic training during the year. At that time Matveyev became an authority in the specific area of the “traditional periodization theory”. He proved that periodization represents the management of the development process.

In the 90s then, Verhoshansky and several other scientists expressed a number of critical views on Matveyev’s theory, and so they began promoting the so-called “block periodization” model. The key benefits of the block periodization model are associated with more selective and highly concentrated training stimulation and reasonable reductions of total training volume. The block periodization concept assumes the subdivision of athletic abilities into “basic” and “specific” ones.

Issurin (2012) pointed out, “These innovations were initially concerned with the inability of athletes to take part successfully in many competitions following a traditional periodization plan. Another important reason was the unsatisfactory progression that athletes were making during multi-targeted mixed training. Prominent coaches and researchers noticed that traditional mixed training produced conflicting training responses and excessive fatigue.”

So let’s highlight the “classic or traditional” periodization model first. It structures long-term training into phases according to a competition schedule. Thus, it divides the annual plan into relatively long periods of complex, mixed training - where the athletes develop many abilities simultaneously. The training year is split into several periods or sections - three or four work best. The starting section is called the preparatory or “off-season” period, followed by the pre-competition or “pre-season” period. The section that leads up to and includes the ultimate target, is the competition or “in-season” period. Additionally, the preparatory phase can be divided into subphases - the general and specific preparation periods. Each section has slightly different objectives all being progressive parts of the annual plan.

Macro: Track and Field / Long Jump
Example of a Macro Periodization

As each athlete is unique, scientists and coaches are still trying to find the best loading and recovery patterns to develop individuals. The key is not only a structured annual plan, but also finding the balance between sport-specific training and building a solid foundation.

One thing that has come up multiple times with our professional teams in North America and Europe is the practical use of Trayn’s “Macro Builder”, where coaches can design custom Macro models, and so go paperless.

Create a well-balanced annual plan with Trayn: sign up!