Periodization of mental skills training program over an Olympic cycle period

Pierre-Nicolas Lemyre, Norwegian Research Center for Training and Performance in Youth Sports, Norway

Theme: Elite performance

Program ID: SYM-04

Presentation: October 3, 2013 8:15 am - 9:30 am

Room: Belle Chasse


The Principle of the Individual Training Response (Hawley, 2000) suggests that the effect of a particular training plan (load and method) varies considerably from athlete to athlete. It has been discussed that while a certain training volume may be excessive for one athlete and result in maladaptive training responses or exhaustion, it may be less than adequate to stimulate adaptation and progression in another. Balague (2000) suggested the transfer of Bompa’s (1999) concept of periodization of physical training for athletes to the area of mental skills training for elite athletes. The current presentation will use the case of a women Olympic team competing in an individual sport to illustrate the challenges of planning and implementing a periodized mental skills training program following the appropriate macrocycles (divided in three main periods, namely preparation, competition, and transition periods), mesocycle (e.g., a month), and microcycle (e.g., a week), to help the athlete reach his or her potential by maximizing learning and performance (Bourne, 1993; Balague, 2000). Each of these cycles presents potential opportunities and pitfalls to the development of foundation skills, performance skills, and facilitative skills (Vealy, 1988, Balague, 2000). In similar fashion to a physical training plan, appropriate adaptation of the mental skills training program should reflect the age and the experience level of the athletes, as well as the composition of the team (Reid, 2000). Periodization examples from four years of mental skills training program, individualized planning and integration of the skills in everyday training, will be use to illustrate the unique roles of post-Olympic and pre-Olympic seasons in preparation to Sochi.

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