The key to hitting your peak when it counts is really all about planning ahead and seeing the bigger picture. Instead of being focused on those immediate moments on the journey (a game by game play of the season), we need to see that its all building up to that one important moment; the peak of your season.
Whatever the peak may be in order for us to get there we need to really look at this time of the year as laying the solid foundations to build upon.
In the next few posts I am going to break down my steps to organising this early season in order to reach your peak performance when it counts.
Goals Setting and Planning
First up is to set your season schedule in place and identify when your peak for the season is going to be. In doing this we are often outlining our goals for the season.
It is important to think about these two in unison as they will likely influence each other and also help you think about making your goals realistic and achievable as they will be set to a time frame. Although that being said I think it is really important to not shy away from big thinking when setting your goals as those tend to be the ones that keep us motivated.
We have a tendency to view our season as lots of games individually and we try and hit our peak performance for each of those games.
Instead to get the most out of our performance in a season and to keep an upward progression throughout it, we need to alter our view. Viewing each game as a step on our journey to our peak performance.
This might mean we need to alter our goals for those games along the way. Managing our expectations for those game can be tough but keeping your eyes fixed on the end goal will help with this.
When we are looking at the bigger picture we can start to use all those games along the way as markers to test of our progression.
In order to really achieve this we need to implement a feedback system for our game performance. We have to be good as assessing our performance post game. We need to be good at identifying our weaknesses and addressing how we are going to work on them.
So whilst planning your season and setting our your goals think about how you can asses whether you are achieving those goals and how you are going to create yourself a feedback system throughout the season.
In order for us to hit our peak performance when it counts we need to make sure we are considering all the aspects of our performance. The following chart demonstrates all those areas we must consider when preparing our training plans for the year:
- Physiology – this is referring to our physical conditioning
- Bio-mechanics – this is referring not only to our on skate skill but also our technical training capability (our own bodies bio-mechanics; how well we move)
- Psychology – this is referring to our mental game but also to our focus at training in relation to our day to day stress factors.
- Tactics – strategic game play
- Health/Lifestyle – Day to day stress factors, work, family etc. Also health sickness and mental and physical fatigue.
Its not just about making sure we are hitting the gym and attending practice, we need to be identifying all these areas in order to hit our peak when it counts later in the season.
When we are planning we need to consider the implications our training will have on our day to day and be realistic in our planning.
For example if we want to hit our peak performance and to do so we decide we are going to go the the gym every day, twice a day and attend skate training and still have a job and life. We are probably going to burn out fast.
This plan has impacted all of these areas that we want to be promoting; we will be both physically and mentally fatigued which will stop our ability to focus at training which will affect our ability to understand strategy and will likely have an affect on our bio mechanics both on and off skates.
So in this planning phase it is very important to consider our time and plan it wisely.
Preparing the Body
Early in the season is a good time to think about those weaknesses from last season. The good thing about this time of the year is that you have the time to work in a higher volume at a lower intensity.
What I mean by that is we are looking at building the foundations for the season so we can look at a more simple skill based drills and therefore do more repetitions of that drill, thus a higher volume but its a lower intensity than say a full on strategy drill might be.
You can apply this to both your on and off skates training. The above chart demonstrates how this relationship alters as the season progresses in order to reach our peak performance when it counts.
The chart shows how in order to reach our peak performance the volume needs to decreases over the course of the season but the intensity increases dropping off just before our peak performance happens.
In our off skates training we want to be thinking about those foundations again at this time of year so making sure that we have a good plan to promote balance with the 4 pillars of fitness: Flexibility (Coordination), Strength, Speed and Endurance.
Flexibility and Coordination being one of the most valuable elements of fitness which is often vastly overlooked, see this previous post where I discussed the importance of mobility to roller derby.
When planning your off skates think about what your weaknesses are and give more focus to those areas but be sure to find a balance still with the other pillars too. For example if you want to get stronger then have that as a focus but don’t ignore those aspects of flexibility (coordination), speed and endurance.
In the next post I will be moving into the last steps to organising this early season in order to reach your peak performance when it counts.