Topic 2 – Cycles of Training

Cycles of Training

Proper training is very important for athletes throughout the entirety of a season.  Due to the different levels of workload throughout the season, different training aspects must be considered.  There are three breakdowns of training, macro-cycle, melo-cycle, and microcycle.  Having different segments of training throughout the season helps players understand what needs to be done to accomplish both long term and short term goals.

The macro-cycle represents the entirety of the season, or one year if multiple seasons are being played.  Macro-cycles usually focus on long term goals such as, a certain amount of muscle mass, vertical jump gain, a faster mile, etc.  These goals are involved in the macro-cycle because they are not something that can be quickly improved upon, in order to accomplish these goals, months of training would be required to make significant improvements.  

The melo-cycle is a middle ground between the two ends of the spectrum.  This cycle separates the year into months, giving players a more achievable goal when working towards their long term goals.  For example, if a player’s goal is to improve their mile time, then a good monthly goal would be to improve their time by a portion of that goal.  Another goal to have would be to run a certain percentage of the days that month.  If the player wants to separate training into parts based on the season, they could focus on training during the preseason, midseason, and postseason.  Separating training this way would allow for optimal player condition because they could focus more on training during the preseason and postseason, and focus more on maintaining their game condition during the season.  

The micro-cycle should either focus on week by week training, or session by session training.  Within the micro-cycle it is important to focus on drills that are geared towards the long term goals.  The micro-cycle is affected heavily by the melo-cycle.  For example if midseason, the micro-cycle will look much different than it would during the preseason.  During the preseason, sessions will be more focused on the long term goal, as well as gearing up the players body for the season.  However, during the midseason, players will focus almost entirely on maintaining playing conditions.  The micro-cycle could also be separated on a session by session basis.  When separating on a session basis, players and trainers would focus on aspects such as not training the same muscle group on back to back days, or giving players rest before a game the next day.  However the player decides to separate the micro-cycle, the activities being done should either be focused on maintaining conditioning, or on the eventual succession of long term goals, depending on the time of year or part of the season.

When training there are other important aspects to remember.  The Canadian Basketball Athlete Development Model separates training into the ten S’s of training.  The first five, stamina, strength, speed, skill, and suppleness focus on the physical attributes of training.  Throughout each of these five physical attributes, there are different age groups for both males and females when training each group to capacity.  For example, the optimal period to train speed for males would be ages 7-9 and 13-16, but for females the windows are years 6-8 and 11-13.  This information, as well as similar information for the other groups would be important when setting a macro-goal for the year or season.  

The additional S’s of training are structure, (p)sychology, sustenance, schooling, and sociocultural.  These S’s focus more on the overall training, and external factors to consider.  For example, when coaching youth players it is important to recognize and account for the fact that players have other important aspects of their life going on such as school.  It is also important to consider sustenance because training will be ineffective if players do not have a proper diet.  Coaches and trainers should be aware of the players socio-cultural background, which will help identify appropriate ways to train the player.

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