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8. 3. 2012.

Competition calendar

Coach creates competition schedule that is proper for sportsmen, their amount of performance and skills, and also to their psychological features. Though athletes opinion can be considered, especially top athletes, but it is better in many opinions that coach creates the initiative and to make a deal, to be flexible. You can never be sure if the athlete is having bad days, injuries, family problems… so many factors can worsen athletes performance, and talk with the athlete should always be done before any creation of year calendar. Athletes, in individual sports, can make final decision; but in team sports schedule is fixed, but there is one advantage – coach can change players if they are out of form, tired…
Main competition, that we sometimes think to be the main goal of the year, is determinative factor in periodization and creating competition schedule, and also in players determination  for competitions. Other official and non-official competitions, that are not so important can ensure the possibility of athletes better prepareness. They are scheduled during competitive season and most imposed during precompetitive subphase. Don’t plan competitions early in preparation phase. Instead of performance, during that period you should be focused on body prepareness and skills development. That is the reason why you should integrate main competitions with non-important competitions. Changing of these competitions is ideal, but not always possible. In  team sports there is a lot of official games and competitions(also with possibility to let the player in better form on the field).
In soccer, in the beginning of the season team should determine whether primary goal is championship, cup or some higher competition, like Champions League. Training plan and periodization should be done according for example, if the championship is the main competition, than supercompensation cycle should always occur before match day, to let players enough space to feel positive effects of supercompensation.  In most championships, day for supercompensation should be Friday if there is a match in Saturday, or eventually Thursday  evening training should not be on maximum intensity, and Friday should be training that will not have extremely high volume, cause legs will be heavy and players will not have any chance to give their best(unless if it is preparation period, than this rule doesn’t occur).
Some rule should be that competition schedule in years plan should be lead with the rule of training progressive load increase. That is possible in some individual sports, but in soccer only during preparation period, and not fully, because other people are determining competitions. But it can be worked for example in variation 2+1, where two trainings will follow increase, and 1 training should be day before the match, reserved for supercompensation effect or light training with stretching to rest the tired muscles and psycha.
Number of competitions is determinative factor in achieving performance goals. Hard competition schedule, what is often appeared in team sports, can accelerate the process of sports form peak reaching and can decrease team performance for important competitions in the end of the season. But there is a problem here… what with the Champions League, where every match lost leads to elimination? If the team reaches group stage, than something can be planned, but before reaching elimination rounds must be passed. So, this creates a huge problem in periodization. Decreased number of competitions can also lead to the lower sports form for main event of the year. Two important criteria for determining competitions number are characteristics and nature of sport demands and amount of athletes performance. If you have athlete with low capacity, 15-25 competitions or matches may be enough for him, or if your athlete is not mature enough. However, if you have professional experienced player, 30+ competitions is not representing a problem, just make sure to determine when will you go for form peak and maximum results.
Once when the plan is done, it shouldn’t be changed. We all know that this is not case in soccer every time. In lower leagues schedule is normal somehow, but if you have state champion that plays Championship League, cup, state championship, revial matches, friendly matches… if it is planned at least few months in advance, great, but we know that in most cases this is very far from reality. If you lead a small club, your chance is start and middle of the season, cause most clubs will be out of form then and that is your chance to make good results versus better clubs.
During last macrocycle it should be trained in quiet, peaceful atmosphere along with small changes in conclusions from the previous competitions. Each competition, each match leaves the consequences on the player – physically, mentally and psychologically. Athlete needs time to relax, rest and rebuild mental toughness and focus on main competition of the year.Sometimes it should be talked with athletes, positive stimuli can always give results.  If these principles are not followed, weak performance in the last competition will occur with more than 80% probability. 

"Periodization, theory and methodology of training", Tudor Bompa

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