My periodization process involves the creation of a series of documents which will provide the foundation for the team’s operation while optimizing performance throughout the season. In my next 4 blogs, I will discuss our main 4 documents in the order they should be designed. Essentially, we are taking a broad view of the year’s schedule then we slowly dive deeper into more specifics of the various periods, weeks and days.

The first step is to create a team calendar for the season which will be based upon the competitive game schedule provided by the league. Remember, in this model, competitive games lay the foundation for everything we plan. The aim of this document is to create a “soft blueprint” for the season. “Soft” simply means that this calendar should always be reviewed throughout the season and modified as needed. That is, because long term planning is nearly impossible in our world as we live in a non-linear highly complex environment where many variables will influence our decision making every day, week, month or black. Below is a specific order of variables I always consider while building the calendar:

  • Home & Away games are plugged in first along with cup games and playoffs.
  • Travel days are plugged in next as they often can be a “steadier” variable based on travel principles which we have defined and discussed with the Head Coach.
  • We will then plug in any miscellaneous conflicts, international windows, mandatory breaks, friendly games…etc . The idea is to obtain the truest visual of the competitive workload our players will need to face throughout the year.

At this time, let’s pause. We should try to zoom out and observe the calendar.