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30. 4. 2012.


Mesocycle is the medium training cycle contained of more smaller training units – microcycles. In it can be at least 2 microcycles, with minimal lasting of 15 days, and the most 6-7 microcycles that last maximum 45 days. Most of authors say that the most popular are mesocycles that contain 4 microcycles and last around one month. So some people say wrong – month cycles.
In mesocycles is build training process coordinated with main goal and assignments of period, phase or stage of preparation; enables optimum load dynamics and relation of methods and resources, and also rational regime of training influences, that stimulate adaptation on training conditions(but contain fatique at athletes) and recovery processes. This is saying that mesocycles are determined partially with same factors and circumstances like microcycles. However, that is not enough to explain the goal of medium cycles, cause they are not simple sum of microcycles. Basic factors that determine mesocycle structure are:
1)      Necessity of enabling cumulative training effect,
2)      Specificity of adaptative reactions on load,
3)      Priority goals and assignments in development  of sportsmen abilities,
4)      Training content,
5)      Competition calendar features – competition number and character,
6)      Length of intervals among competitions,
7)      Features of sports preparation in various periods of macrocycles,
8)      Recovery conditions,
9)      Biorhythmic factors.
Basic factor due to which mesocycle has to be accepted as necessary shape in which training process is built is management of cumulative training effect that is created as the consequence of microcycles series. These way will satisfy two goals. First, wished flow of athlete’s training development is enabled, cause it is related to whole, summary load, load specificity and other, related to this, relatively longer period of time. Second, violation of adaptative processes that threatens in conditions of chronic fatique is stopped.
Regulation of effort and recovery in microcycle borders is not sufficient, cause it has to be regulated in mesocycle as a whole unit. For example, after hitting microcycle athlete needs to be recovered, which means that in these microcycle it will come to variation of load size. This variation has wavy dynamics(huge loads – small loads), and wave size is medium compared to complete training structure. Medium load waves are some of typical features of training mesocycle.
In mesocycle microcycles of various direction are applied. Some microcycles are directed to trainness improvement(physical, technical, tactical…), others to integral preparation, third to recovery etc. Along with that, summary load in various microcycles can vary in wider limits. Following microcycles can be applied in four possible cases:
1)      In the situation of complete recovery from effort in previous microcycle.
2)      In the situation of increased physical work capacity,
3)      In the situation of visible, emphasized fatique,
4)      In the situation of first signs of overtrainness.
In fourth case microcycle that occurs has to be recovery microcycle. In other cases various diagnose can be applied.
In work with top athletes and athletes of high training level, in modern sport is viewed tendency to sum microcycle loads that enter the composition of mesocycle, by going through the way of fatique progression from one into the other microcycle. These type of training requires maximal mobilization of all organism reserves and adaptation to extreme difficult training conditions. That is the “impact” not only on physical, but to psychological component of a human. If this type of work is forced into the longer period of time – that is the road to overtrainness. Athlete needs to be rest, to enable adaptation processes to attain applied loads. After more hard cycles, it is needed to do recovery microcycle and that is the only correct road to enable wished training effect. This type of approach would be wrong with younger athletes, and multiply dangerous also. Situations 1) and 2) are more better.
If loads in hitting microcycles were bigger, loads in recovery microcycles are smaller. If lasting of huge efforts is longer, recovery microcycle will be longer.
There are few types of mesocycles, that are separated by lasting and content, and also have various place in macrocycle. All mesocycles can be divided into two groups. First group is basic, and other group is additional mesocycles.

Basic mesocycles are featured for training periods in macrocycle. Into these mesocycles are counted basic and competitive mesocycle. Basic mesocycles are basic in preparatory period, and competitive in competitive period of training. The essence of preparatory period is to create basis for successful competition in competitive period, so names of these mesocycles originate from there.
In basic mesocycle is done basic work on creating preconditions for competition. The fundament is built through development of basic and specific athlete’s ablities. Dependant of which devices dominate in mesocycle, basic or specific, basic mesocycles are divided into basic-preparatory and specific-preparatory. First and other type of basic mesocycle can contain huge amount of load, and also influent variously on training dynamics. Loads can be usual, in limits of reached adaptation level. Athlete organism, in that case, doesn’t have stimulus for adaptation on higher level, but with usual size of applied load it is stabilized. Due to that, this type of basic mesocycle is called stabilizing. It is featured not only by decrease in load size, but also with load and training method variabilities.
Bigger loads, that ask for determined adaptation period, influent positively on further development of athlete trainness. Mesocycle in which summary big loads are applied are developing mesocycles. In its structure key place is reserved for hitting microcycles of various type. There are more different possibilities of ordering microcycles in developing basic mesocycle. Usually mesocycle contains of 1-2 hitting microcycles, between which normal microcycles can exist. Developing basic is, by rule, ended with recovery microcycle. At significantly emphasized fatique, after very big loads, recovery microcycle is not enough for recovery. After that stabilizing basic mesocycle will go, which isn’t last long, cause these are usually two normal microcycles.
Training programs in basic mesocycle are featured not only by huge summary volumes and training intensities, but also by more often appliance of single training with big load. Instead of it, here is possible big variability in the choice of devices and methods for development of physical, technical, tactical and psychological abilities.
In all types of basic mesocycles, basic elements are training microcycles of various type. Recovery microcycles are usually common part of these cycles, while in its structure competitive and starting microcycles can be found very often. That is the case with specific competition calendar when there are competitions in preparatory period that are first in the season, and result is important. This example are cup competitions in soccer and basketball.
Competitive mesocycle in basic type of mesocycle, which structure, content and number in macrocycle mostly depends on sports branch or discipline specificity, macrocycle type in which mesocycle is found and number of competitive periods inside of it, competition calendar features and athlete’s sports level.
In competitive mesocycle intensive training work is done, whose assignment is to lead the athlete to the level of maximal abilities for performance on competition. It is cleared that it can only occur in the terms of complete functional recovery, by which it comes after optimal varying of load size, appliance of proper devices and recovery methods along with their rational combining with tonizing training, medical-biological and psychological devices. That is the way to navigate the process of sports form, in which athlete has to be inside competitive mesocycle.
Competitive mesocycles can be mutually very various, not only in different, but in the same sports branches and disciplines. Differences are specially emphasized in the lasting, structure and content of specific mesocycles. As an example, various mesocycles can be mentioned in all sports branches in which competitions are held, that are different by lasting, regime, system and content.
In the structure of competitive mesocycle competitive microcycles are dominant, that follow each other. Before the first competitive microcycle in a row, or instead of more important competition in mesocycle, starting microcycle can occur. After hard competitions, or after the series of competitive microcycles, recovery microcycle occurs.
Additional mesocycles are featured for specific phases of training process. Here are counted following mesocycles: starting, control-preparative, forecompetitive, recovery-preparating and recovery- maintaining.
Starting mesocycle is the first middle cycle of the season. This is reserved to start preparative period, and that determines features of the period. Basic goal is to “enter” the athlete into the season and prepare him for huge efforts that occur in next mesocycles of preparative period. Size of load in starting mesocycle is smaller related to basic mesocycles of the season. Loads are small, especially on the account of training intensity, while shape can be bigger, especially in sports branches for which endurance is the most important feature. Endurance is lightly increasing in the starting mesocycle. It is about start of the season, so preparative drills dominate. Motoric and functional abilities that influent to the efficiency of next trainings are increased. It is mostly about increase in aerobic capacities, basic strength, speed and flexibility. In this cycle, in the beginning of the season, technic-tactic repertoire can be widespread, especially if preparative period lasts longer, and if it is worked about younger athletes.
In normal circumstances, starting mesocycle lasts 15-20 training days and contains 2-3 normal microcycles, and, in the end of microcycle, recovery microcycle. It can also last longer or be repeated in the case that the athlete had a longer break from various reasons(mostly injury) or if the athlete was very passive in the transition period. In team sports, it can be programmed only for one member if there are proper reasons.
 Name on itself control-preparative period leads to its essence – control of reached prepareness level and further preparation. Sometimes it is called also preparative-control mesocycle, by emphasizing preparation component in its content. Control in this cycle means determination of training level and athlete or team sports form, that is done by previous work. This control has integral character, cause competitive drills are applied, and through competitions athletes are not only controlled, but also prepared further, to perfection. Except of competitive drills, specific-preparative drills are applied that are, by specificity, very close. Sometimes is needed to emphasize preparation through specific training drills, and sometimes to decrease level of load, if signs of general fatique appeared. Other access emphasizes competitions inside of cycle. First access is good if preparation period lasts longer, and other leads to its shorter lasting when it has to be hurried to enter the condition of sports form.
If preparation period lasts shorter, then there is no space for this type of mesocycle. Exception are top athletes that have full season and less needs for basic mesocycles. Related to their high training level, competitions in the border of control-preparative mesocycle are the most efficient device of fast entering into sports form, especially if competitive period starts with important competitions. However, control-preparative mesocycle doesn’t occur before competitive mesocycle. Through control on competitions, necessary view into integral prepareness will be obtained. That leads to correction in the next mesocycle, that is usually forecompetitive.
Structure of control-preparative mesocycle is created of training and competitive microcycles. Due to that, there is an accordance among theoretics of sports training that these mesocycle is transition type that is found between basic and competitive.
Forecompetitive mesocycle is typical for the stage of immediate preparation for the main competition or one of the main competitions. It would be wrong to ask for its place only in preparation period. Here is created preparation for the main competition, so it can be in the end of preparation period(if season starts with some important competition) or in competitive period in front of the main competitions.
In preparation period forecompetitive mesocycle is logically supervened to control-preparative mesocycle. In it all misses in trainness spotted into previous cycle should be corrected. Misses, if worked regularly, shouldn’t be more significantly emphasized. That means that enough time stays till the beginning of competition to remove them and to work, most of all, on tactic and psychological preparation for the competition. Generally, loads should be increased in specific work, but take care about timely relieve, for efficient development of adaptative changes and necessary “freshness” with which it should be accessed to the competition.
In forecompetitive period adaptation of an athlete to concrete competition terms should be enabled, so this type of mesocycles has model character. Its basic sign is that athlete is adequately prepared for successful competition. Related with that, it is necessary to model:
a)      exercises
b)     relation of various training resources
c)      size and load dynamics
d)     competition regime
e)      “outer” competition terms
Basic principle in work is: maximal closing of training process to competition conditions.
Competitive drills by its features should be on the level of expected on competition, and above that too. In any case, they shouldn’t overwhelm earlier level reached. Specificity of training process should be increased during cycle. On the other side, temporary appliance of contrast trainings, non-specific by its direction, is necessary. Number of these trainings, like praxa shew, shouldn’t be big and should be avoided in the last 5-7 days of mesocycle. That is significant change related to primary ideas of appliance “principle of the pendulum”.
Schedule of load size can be various, which in great measure depends on trainings in previous mesocycle. If previous mesocycle was featured by significant volumes, than in forecompetitive period should gradually, from week to week, decrease volume, and increase load intensity. Smaller volumes in previous mesocycle ask for wavy volume variation so the microcycle of bigger volume is changed with microcycles of smaller volume. In competitive period, when till the beginning of forecompetitive mesocycle were more competitions and when fatique of them is visible, in first microcycle athlete has to be refreshed, partially change devices, sometimes change the place of training etc. In the next microcycle load size and training specificity is increased. In all written variants, last microcycle has to be smaller load(for adaptation), but through significant decrease in volume, and maintain high, competitive specific work intensity.
Modeling of competitions regime in training is significant part of total modeling in forecompetitive mesocycle. It gathers load order, change of effort and rest on competitions that last longer and on which at least two times is a game or match, competition days regime etc.
All that is said is related to “internal” factors and competition conditions. Good preparation asks modeling of “outer” factors and conditions, cause they can have significant influence on sports result. On preparation competitions is needed to create conditions of main competition, preparing competition should be maintained in the conditions of surround and on the way how it will occur on main competition(climate and geographic conditions, judging conditions, space conditions, sport object and equipment features…). The biggest problem for coach is to prognose and model psychological conditions of competition. Conditions can be changed by influences from the inside, in athlete on himself, and out of the athlete, and can vary pretty widely.
In the preparation for extremely important, the most important competitions, not only season, but macrocycle, and often the whole carriere, like Olympic Games, in final preparation two mesocycles of forecompetitive type can be connected.
Structure of forecompetitive mesocycle is featured by competitive microcycles of model type and training microcycles. In some variants these two types can be combined.
Recovery-preparative mesocycle is typical for intrastages that are found between two competitive periods, but it can also be applied in terms of longer competitive period lasting(around 5 months) when it is not possible to maintain the athlete in the condition of sports form. In modern training praxa, in many sports branches and disciplines, more and more is avoided one longer competitive period of longer lasting and due to that during one year we meet two or three competitive periods. In the brakes between them, if last 20+ days, recovery-preparative mesocycle is applied. From its name is seen direction of this cycle – recovery and preparation. It is needed to recover the athlete from previous efforts, then to renew the base of its preparation and through specific work to regain sports form.
Structure of recovery-preparative mesocycle should have features of “small preparation period”. In the beginning the athlete rests, most often passively, dependant on the size of fatique in the previous period. After that devices are chosen and methods of active recovery and development of general abilities. Next microcycle should be tonizing with the content in which dominate specific-preparative drills. Only one type is written. Types of structure of these mesocycles type depends on:
1)      Intrastage lasting,
2)      Features of previous competitive period,
3)      Degree and character of athlete fatique,
4)      Degree of an athlete trainness,
5)      Sports calendar features,
6)      Significance of first competitions in the following competitive period,
7)      Required “speed” of reentering into the stage of sports form and other.
Recovery – maintaining cycle asks whole transition period if it lasts short. According to that, it could be the basic type of mesocycle. However, significance and lasting of transition periodare significantly smaller from other training periods, so it is counted in additional mesocycles. In this type of medium cycles athlete recovers not only from competitive period, but also from the whole previous season. Recovery is active with the main assignment to maintain abilities on determined level. This mesocycle, depending on numerous factors, can be differently built. In any case, in it dominate unloading and training basic-preparative microcycles, but in various variants can be determined other types of microcycles instead of competitive. 

"Basics of sports training", Vladimir Koprivica

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