Phases of Competition

BikiCrumbs: Phases of Competition

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  • Many athletes train all year to maintain fitness
  • Periodisation: the dividing of a program into phases


Pre Season Training/Preparation Phase

  • 6-12 weeks before the start of the season
  • Aim: high performance at the end of the preparatory phase
  • Focus: sport specific skill training is intensified
  • High volume, moderate intensity
  • variety in training methods, incorporating endurance and power eg Fartlek + interval

In Season Training/Competition Phase

  • Aim: maintain fitness, strength + skills developed in the pre season
  • Maintaining fitness by increasing intensity and decreasing volume
  • Focus: gain competitive experience, tactics and strategies, mental skills
  • Specificity and games + game-like practice is important
  • The athletes ability to load (train) and unload (recover, regenerate) will influence the level of intensity

Post/Off Season/Transition Phase

  • Aim: prevent weight gain (by modifying diet), maintain an aerobic fitness base + strength + skill level, repair injuries
  • Involves recreational and social activities, variety is important (also in the environment)
  • Low intensity, high volume
  • One week total rest followed by active rest

Peaking for Performance

  • Peaking: phase of training in which performance is optimised to meet the demands of a race/competition, a temporary state
  • Characteristics of peaking:
    • High health/fitness
    • Quick recovery from training
    • Neuromuscular coordination
    • self confidence/motivation
    • Mental alertness
    • Technical/tactical preparation is optimal
    • Program should be organised so that physical and mental states are optimal
  • Involves a sequential, cumulative training program


  • Tapering: a period of reduced training immediately prior to competition, can increase the strength and power of the athlete
  • 7-10 days is appropriate for most sports
  • Reasons: allows tissue to rebuild, heal injuries, replace energy stores
  • Effects differ: good in swimming, minimal for running

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