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Periodisation and Scheduling of Training, Competing and Regenerating.
WHEN you train, compete, recover and rest is as important as HOW you do it. Correct scheduling for each block of the season is vital to ensure high performance is developed, maintained and peaked at the right times. Many players know they are working hard and putting in the hours yet they still feel fatigued during tournaments and feel a step slow on the court. Usually this is a result of poor training schedule and not tapering (reducing the training load) accurately enough in the build up to the big events.
Each athlete handles training and time on the court differently and requires a different schedule to ensure maximum performance at the desired times.
For the 2004 & 2005 season, I traveled full time with Maria Sharapova as she trained and competed around the world. She was 17 years old, growing fast, very tight with her flexibility and generally weak in most of the overuse injury areas. We focussed a great deal on muscle balance, movement technique and preventative strength work. Maria was able to play the whole season without missing a single match due to injury. She won the Wimbledon Championship in July 2004 and the Year Ending WTA Tour Championships in LA. After a regeneration break and then a pre-season training block, she also made it to the semi-finals of the Australian Open in Jan 2005.
This was all possible from a schedule that allowed hard periods of training to make gains and improvements in her movement technique, speed and conditioning level. It allowed her to physically peak 4-5 times during the season for the big events with a good taper and reduction in her training load. She trained during tournaments to maintain her speed, explosiveness and reaction but with training that didn't fatigue her.