Resolving the periodisation puzzle: practical planning in the 21st century

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John Kiely

Periodisation is a belief structure in flux, and surely one of the most polarising topics within the coaching and sports sciences. The concept itself evolved under the influence of diverse – cultural, ideological, scientific, and coaching – shaping forces. As our understanding of the performance preparation phenomenon has evolved, the scientific validity of some of the pivotal assumptions – on which traditional periodisation philosophy was originally founded – have been undermined. The often raised academic question subsequently is whether or not periodisation theory is eroded beyond repair, or remains valid – albeit with some reframing to incorporate these new challenges. The challenge to practitioners is to evaluate and decipher these mixed messages and to identify key implications that may benefit their practice. BIOG: John currently works as a senior lecturer in elite performance at the Institute of Coaching and Performance, located within the University of Central Lancashire. He supervises professional doctoral candidates, working within elite environments, focused on applying critical thinking to drive practical innovations. As a practitioner, he has been a coach (boxing and track and field) since the mid-90s; he coached a Paralympic track medallist (Athens, 2004) and world champion in 2005; he was head of S&C for UK Athletics for the Beijing 2008 cycle; he worked extensively with triple-jumper Phillips Idowu when he won Olympic silver in 2008, World gold in 2009, European gold in 2010 and World silver in 2011; he worked with Laura Massaro when she won World, and British Open Squash titles in 2013; and he also worked with the Irish 6-Nations winning teams of 2014 and 2015. He was support staff with Irish Rugby during the 2015 Rugby World Cup, and he will be with the Egyptian squad during this summer’s football World Cup