Periodisation - what is it?
Periodisation is the planned organisation of training, practice, competition and rest and recovery into blocks or periods throughout a given period of time. The organisation, placement and content of the training blocks are governed by the phase of the season (off-pre-in) and its competition structure (games/competition schedule). Crucially, where periodisation is applied, the model should take into account the demands of the game and the accumulation of the number of games over the competitive or in-season with the needs of the player in terms of their specific strengths and deficits and their ability to recover and perform.
This means that variation of training, practice, rest and recovery are all key elements of the process of periodisation. In addition, an appropriate periodisation model has clear goals which are stated and worked towards during each phase. Sometimes the phases of the periodised model are called ‘blocks’, ‘periods or ‘cycles’. The terms ‘phase’ and ‘cycle’ are built into the lexicon of the language of Periodisation and so we will use them as the preferred terms.
Some of the terms frequently used when discussing Periodisation are listed below.
A year or general cycle. This can be considered a whole training and competition year for Rugby whereas it could be a 4-year cycle for an Olympic athlete. The macrocycle is generally broken into 'pre-season', 'in-season' and 'off-season' or 'holidays' for the player when a single periodised year is used.
The macrocycle is broken into different cycles, e.g. the off, pre and in-season means that there are three clear mesocycles in the player’s year. In some cases there may be 3-6 mesocycles depending on the structure of the season. Frequently, a mesocycle corresponds to about 6-8 weeks of training.
The equivalent of a week. In some cases, it may be longer or shorter.
Double periodised year
This is where the year is divided into two competition periods. The periods are thus formed: preparation 1, pre-competition 1, competition 1, post-competition (or transition), preparation 2, pre-competition 2 and competition 2, post-competition.