Periodisation: Complexities of Applying Sport Science

I’ve been privileged to teach across quite a few disciplines at Deakin University, including physiology, biomechanics, and anatomy.  But probably my favourite units to teach are Applied Sport Science 1 and 2.  I particularly enjoy helping students to develop the mindset for solving problems that don’t have one clear or correct answer.  When it comes down to it, that’s where the true challenge lies for any applied scientist – combining evidence-based practice with the capacity to engage and interact with complicated human beings!

My classes this week explored the periodisation concept.  Periodisation is one of my favourite topics to teach because of its inherent complexity, but also because you need to be in touch with the human aspect of athlete and team preparation in order to periodise well.  To kickstart my students into some key considerations for creating an annual plan, I asked:

  • Why is it important to periodise?
  • What are we trying to achieve through a periodised plan?
  • What should be included in a periodised plan?
  • How do you know that your plan is any good?

Based on their answers to these broad questions, I created a mind map to summarise their ideas.

Periodised Plan Considerations

Key considerations for structuring a periodised plan (click to view larger).

Though not comprehensive, the mind map demonstrates some insightful comments provided by my students, setting up a platform for further exploration of the issues that need to be considered when structuring a comprehensive periodised plan.


    1. Hi Fabio, the texts by Bompa & Haff (“Periodization: Theory and Methodology of Training”) and Stone et al. (“Principles and Practices of Resistance Training”) are great starting points. I often find myself referring to articles by Issurin (2010, “New horizons for the methodology and physiology of training periodization”) and Fry et al. (1992, “Periodisation of training stress – a review”), as well. Hope that helps!

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