First let me say I have total, 100% complete admiration and respect for Bompa himself – a true pioneer of the sports coaching and the sports performance industry. This article is in no way a criticism of him personally but rather a proclamation that Periodization as a concept is now officially dead and buried.
Periodization – that is, the traditional sports training planning model involving long blocks (cycles or phases) of training which emphasise specific aspects of training is 20 years past the use by date and it’s time we all moved on to something more relevant and more effective for the training and preparation of athletes in this century.
The popular version of periodisation was developed in the Eastern block, 40 years ago, for senior athletes: another time, another system, another world – and totally inappropriate for today’s athletes.
Sports science has made and can continue to make a huge impact on sports performance. However, most sports scientists do not communicate their knowledge, research, ideas and information very well. As a result, many coaches will listen to and work with sports scientists who have made the effort to understand the coaching “world” and to sports science professionals who listen to, respect and engage with them as equals – as professionals trying to make a difference.
There are many good coaches in the world all striving to do their best and to help athletes realise their full potential. Some coaches – through their hard work, dedication, commitment, tenacity and creativity make the transition from good to great.
Many people aspire to leading high performance sporting teams, organisations and national sporting bodies. However, most are unprepared for the real challenges of leadership – particularly of leading effectively in an environment of pressure, stress and high public expectations.
Every time a professional player or elite athlete tests positive to drugs or is caught abusing alcohol, you can guarantee three things will happen:
- Newspapers and other media will over react and claim an isolated incident is evidence of an inherent drug and alcohol abuse culture in the club or sport (or all of sport);
- The club or sport will over react and ensure a drugs and alcohol education program is put in place as soon as possible;
- Everyone associated with the incident will over react, deny responsibility and blame someone else.
What’s the reality?
The Accountability Myth – Why the current Leadership models in High Performance Sport are failing (badly).
Time to be honest about this whole Leadership concept in high performance sport – it is not working.
It’s not working because of the Accountability Myth: The Accountability Myth is the reason why the current Leadership models in High Performance Sport are failing (badly).
Typically the end of season means a well earned rest, a few quiet drinks with team mates, some time with family and then… the end of season review.
Every team does some kind of season reflection or review – in most cases motivated by one or more “P” – Performance, Politics, Pressure.
- The Performance Review: is one motivated by a drive to improve the performance of the team – players, coaches and staff – for next season.
- The Political Review: is a review often driven by the Board or Executive to achieve a political agenda or philosophical shift in the club.
- The Pressure Review: is one forced on a team by media, fans, club, Board or other stakeholders as a result of a poor performance.
By far the most effective review is one that is deliberately and strategically placed in the team’s “performance cycle” each year and is embraced by coaches, players, staff, Management and Board as being an important and positive aspect of progressive performance from season to season.
The Coaching Team.
Gone are the days of the “GURU” coaches.
Sure, the great names of coaching have all been “one man bands” – strong, decisive, authoritarian, leadership focused head coaches who controlled every aspect of the team’s performance.
However, elite sport has developed at an incredible rate over the past twenty years and the knowledge and skills required to win an elite sporting competition are greater than any one person can bring to the table.
Think of the advances in sports science, sports medicine, analysis, IT, nutrition, psychology and technology since the 1980s.
How can we expect that any one person can be THE expert in all performance areas plus coach the team, deal with the media, work with Club Board and Executive, recruit new players, talk to sponsors, meet the fans etc etc etc?
So – the Coaching Team and Performance Team concepts are born.
Here’s how it goes.
Your club has had another poor season.
People looking for answers come up with a lot of ideas on how to improve next year.
The management team determine that what the Club needs is a new high performance facility: new stadium, new meeting rooms, new computer lab, new medical facilities, a new gym and of course the obligatory new recovery facility.
Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.
Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.
This is the Facility Fallacy.
Positive Drug Tests in sport.
What sort of idiot trains hard for months or even years then:
- Takes performance enhancing or social drugs before, during or after competition?
- Takes performance enhancing or social drugs at any time?
That’s just it: they are idiots. Well most of them are anyway. Some are misguided. Some are lazy. Some just made a genuine mistake.
Positive Drug Tests in Sport: 6 Types of Drug Cheats and How to Recognise them.
I am getting so sick of people talking about high performance environments, about following a process, about systems, about structures, about programs, about initiatives, about workshops and about strategies.
The name of the game is Winning – oops – there I said it.
Winning. Winning. Winning. There, I said it again.
That felt great. I’ll say it some more. Winning. Winning. Winning. Winning.
That felt so good I’ll do it again. Winning!! Winning!!!! Winning!!!!!
The W Word: Winning.