What is this periodisation? How can this help any form of training?” asked dad’s friend.
“Have you not been to a school? The classes conducted are called as periods. This is the same thing,” the friend’s wife answered.
“This is not about academic work but it is to do with physical training for any form of sport for a competitive purpose,” the friend turned towards my dad.
“Periodisation is a long-term planning of a training programme of an individual or a team with the purpose of optimising or maximising the athlete or a team’s potential to compete in an event within a stated span of time. The Olympics, the greatest pageantry of mankind, gives four years for the periodisation of the athletes training programme, such that they could be at their best in the competition and reach their peak at the finals of their event. The structural, physiological and metabolic characteristics of the athlete are altered with a scientific intervention to achieve this target. If the athlete achieves this state of maximum performance earlier or later than the stipulated date, the whole exercise would be futile,” dad explained.
“I think you’re not wrong in calling it as similar to classes. In fact, it is the same as preparing the student for the examinations,” said mum. “The goal for writing an exam is to achieve the maximum marks in every subject. Each and every class is planned, gradually progressed to a difficult level of learning similar to a training programme. The time trials or assessments made frequently on the athlete are like the class tests and the preparatory competitions are similar to exams and the final board exams are the major competitions like the Olympics or World Championships.”
“I think the examination is like a Decathlon event,” my sister stole the limelight with her spontaneous observation.
“Decathlon takes two days to perform whereas the board exams take more than 20 days,” I said.
“How about the tennis or shuttle competitions where many competitions happen every year?” asked the friend.
“If the training programme has a single competition in one year or a training cycle it is called as monocyclic,” dad added. “If there are two competitions, it is called as
bicyclic and three events is tricyclic periodisation. The Macrocycle is a plan for three to four months or even a year. The mesocycle is a plan for six to eight weeks. The microcycle is for one to two weeks. The minimicro cycle is one where the athlete plans for two competitions in a week.” There are different phases in a periodisation — the general preparatory phase, specific preparatory phase, competitions phase and transition phase. “My head is going in cycles,” the friend said.
“The macrocycle, if designed for a year, would have two or three mesocycles within it,” my mum said. “Each mesocycle may have various phases. In the general preparatory phase, the athlete develops all the motor qualities, the volume of training is high and the intensity is low. In the specific preparatory phase, the training is specific to the event or sport where the volume is lowered and intensity is gradually increased. In the competition phase, no new additions are made in the training, it is just a maintenance phase to compete with maximum recovery and minimal fatigue where the tapering of the training is very important. The transition phase is the time immediately following a major competition. It gives time for the athlete to recover and start the next training or even compete again. The weekly programme would be called as microcycle and depending on the number of maximum training load in a week it may be called as low, medium or high load.”
“It’s a highly scientific design which is planned with the total knowledge of sports physiology by a scientist who is well-trained in the area of physiology and sport which is a very rare combination in India,” concluded dad.