Blog 8: High Performance Training III – Recovery

Blog 8: High Performance Training III – Recovery

Recovery is one of the most important concepts in the periodization model that many overlook.  After this video, you will be able to detect underrecovery and design high performance recovery strategies.

Excerpt from Coaching Wrestling in the 21st Century

The transition phase, in a periodization of training model, is a break or decrease from training volume from season to season in a manner that helps athletes grow, develop, and recover. The end of a training month (or mesocycle) generally has a recovery week and a recovery week is also designed to decrease training volume to help athletes grow, develop, and recover. Breaks in between bouts of wrestling competitions or training are also a decrease in volume of work and also help athletes grow, develop, and recover. Recovery is one of the secrets of training that often gets overlooked (to the demise of many coaches and athletes) so we will spend some time describing this very important concept.

One of the components of anabolic steroids, which is sometimes used as an illegal performance enhancing drug, was the very quick recovery time it allowed its illegal abusers. To be clear, anabolic steroids are illegal PEDs, and, I am not endorsing nor recommending anyone use them and my point is to show you how important recovery is. Because illegal steroids allowed its abusers to recover quickly, it also allowed them to train more and have more good to great practices. This accumulation of training hours gave anabolic steroid abusers an illegal advantage because it was like they had trained twice or three times as much as non-anabolic steroid users. Can you imagine what type of an advantage 2-3 times the amount of training (designed by sport scientists, medical doctors & high performance training coaches) would give anyone?

One of the byproducts of training is fatigue (fitness fatigue theory – explained below). Recovery time allows our bodies to recuperate, relax, and re-build so that the training can be optimally realized. The process of daily recovery generally takes about 5-24 hours and involves eating at least 3 nutritious meals per day (plus re-hydrating), sleeping for 8-10 hours per day, and letting the body naturally get back to its homeostasis or normal state. When athletes recover properly, they can actually do more work again till they are tired and need another break. This cycle of work, rest, recovery is normal and happens in all parts of life. Have you ever read a book for more than 3 hours in a row or written a paper for more than 3 hours in a row with no breaks? If so, how did you feel during and after those work bouts? And, did your quality of work start to diminish? The body needs intermittent breaks to adequately and consistently perform at high levels in sport, life, and everywhere else.

So how can you as coach design great recovery plans?

You can design great recovery plans by thoroughly understanding & applying each phase of a periodization of training model i.e. pre-competition phase, competition phase, & transition phase. That seems simple and sometimes the balance of each phase gets unbalanced. In other words, one phase of the season may not support the other and underrecovery (overtraining) or burnout or injuries or quitting may happen with the athletes. To balance each phase, coaches should keep in mind LTAD (Long Term Athlete Development) and really understand what each phase could look like.

Another concept for designing great recovery plans is utilizing the fitness fatigue theory. This theory suggests 2 things happen when any athlete trains: they get fit and they get fatigued. So, every athlete must have time to recover in order to optimally realize the fitness just gained after training. If athletes are allowed adequate time to recover (generally 5-24 hours) they will be more ready for the next workout or training session. Given enough recovery time via a recovery week (when the volume of training is reduced for entire week), athletes will actually supercompensate or be more fit than they were before the start of the mesocycle and recovery week. In other words, when athletes are in the middle of a training block or mesocycle, they are more fatigued because the volume of training is increasing. Athletes will optimally realize fitness training and be more in shape after a recovery week when the fatigue declines faster than the fitness declines due to the decrease in the volume of training.


You can also learn more about High Performance Training right now at the below links:

Copyright © by Coach Shannyn,  All rights reserved

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Blog 7: Competition stress

Competition stress

Doubt, fear, & stress are all forms of competition stress that can be managed then channeled into usable, productive energy.  Saori Yoshida, in the above photo, was one of the best at turning competition stress into fuel as she won 3 Olympic Gold medals & 13 World Championship Gold medals.  In the below video, learn strategies to consistently control your nervousness for High Performance Training.

One of the ways that athletes can learn how to effectively deal with competition stress is to study, master, & apply what I like to call the basics of PST or psychological skills training which include and are not limited to Imagery & Self-Talk.  PST can be executed on an ongoing basis just like physical training or sport specific training.

Several years ago, I put together self-help videos to help athletes & coaches alike  discover, learn, then master the basics of High Performance Training via the Elias George Wrestling Foundation website.  Here, you will find a comprehensive & systematic plan for success in our great sport.

One of the challenges that was brought to me by coaches & athletes is the amount of time, energy, & work that needs to be done to become successful in our sport.  My answer to this challenge is is in the form of a question:

What does it take to be great at anything?

The short answer is planning, action, patience, perseverance, & desire.

A longer answer to that rhetorical question is spelled out here.

Dealing with and overcoming competition stress so that you or your athletes can perform at the highest level consistently is what most of the Coach Shannyn Blog and High performance Training are all about.  To that end, you have the power to learn, master, then apply strategies to effectively use competition stress to your advantage.


You can also learn more about High Performance Training right now at the below links:

Copyright © by Coach Shannyn,  All rights reserved

Blog 6: High Performance Training II Day 2 – Intensity

Blog 6: High Performance Training II Day 2 – Intensity

Excerpt from A Sport Science Approach to Coaching 

A lot of sport scientists measure how hard athletes are working by intensity of work done. Another way to explain intensity is to use the example of drilling in wrestling or wrestling live. In that example, wrestling live would be more intense than drilling because the athletes would be working (physiologically & psychologically) as hard as they could.  The below video & blog about training intensity go into more detail to avoid overtraining, under-recovery, & injuries during training while helping athletes reach peak performances in competitions.

One more example could be a learning technique practice versus a drilling technique practice. In most cases, athletes will be working harder in a drilling technique practice versus a learning technique practice. So, drilling technique generally is more intense than learning technique.

Intensity of practices can be measured using the examples of the last paragraph combined with using volume which essentially is how much athletes have trained. In other words, a practice can be made more intense based on what kind of practice it is. The below example shows intensity of practices in a mesocycle progressively getting more intense until the recovery week:

Mesocycle III intensity example

  • Week 1 learning technique practice
  • Week 2 drilling technique practice
  • Week 3 live wrestling practice
  • Week 4 recovery week

At the U.S. Olympic Education Center, when we had practice twice per day, typically one practice would be more intense than the other on the same day. Generally, morning practices were technique sessions to teach the athletes how to do the skill. And, the afternoon practices were generally drilling moves learned in the morning followed by live wrestling.

According to U.S. Olympic Training Center sports scientist Bill Sands, PhD, as a rule of thumb, coaches should generally increase microcycle intensity up to 30% per week in a mesocycle until the recovery week. This increase in intensity allows the body and mind to adapt to more volume of intensity gradually and prevents overtraining and injuries. Another rule of thumb, when having 2 practices per day, is to have no more than 3 high intensity practices in a row prior to a recovery day. Again, this is to reduce the risk of overuse injuries and overtraining.


You can also learn more about High Performance Training right now at the below links:

Copyright © by Coach Shannyn,  All rights reserved

Blog 5: Psychological Skills Training – Goals

Blog 5: Psychological Skills Training – Goals

The below video and blog detail Goals plus examples of how to execute your plans.

Set a goal that is SMART.

  • Specific: 10 push-ups per night is more specific than saying I will do push-ups nightly.
  • Measurable: becoming a better student by studying with flashcards, re-reading aloud after reading, & asking teacher what to do to increase my scores or grades can be evaluated, analyzed, & measured.
  • Attainable: not so hard no one can do it or so easy you have already done it.
  • Realistic: executing 1 million push-ups in 1 minute is unrealistic – as is beating Jordan Burroughs in wrestling at your current development stage.
  • Timely: when you will accomplish goal. Goals need timelines to become real…start dates and finish dates.
  • Identify why this goal will make you happy or better. Think of why you will enjoy this goal.
  • List obstacles in your way. Becoming a straight ‘A’ student or a state champion has many obstacles and you should list them. You may be unable to see or list all obstacles now…but they are there.
  • Seek guidance & counsel. This is what your parents, teachers, coaches, and most adults are for…they can help you if you ask.
  • Consider who can help you. Your friends, relatives, classmates, teammates may be able to help you if you ask.
  • List skills & knowledge required. Do you have to master reading or basic math or basic wrestling skills or whatever to accomplish your goal?
  • Develop a plan of action. Action or inaction makes everything happen. Write it down and do it!!!
  • Set a deadline. You need a start and finish time to realize your goals…other wise you are wishing, dreaming, wasting time and running your brain in circles.

Olympic Champion and Olympic Greco-Roman Coach Steve Fraser created the AP&R form to assist his athletes in planning, executing, and reviewing goals. An adapted AP&R form can be found here: Athlete Planning & Review. For more mental skills resources, view Mental Skills Handbook.

For more information on Goals click here.


You can also learn more about High Performance Training right now at the below links:

Copyright © by Coach Shannyn,  All rights reserved

Blog 4: High Performance Training II – Peaking & Tapering

Blog 4: High Performance Training II – Peaking & Tapering

Excerpt from Coaching Wrestling in the 21st Century

This term helps athletes psychologically and physiologically become ready to have their best athletic performances based on the annual plan.  Simply put, athletes will peak for competitions in a high performance training plan that is based on a periodization of training model.  This means that you as coach must implement plans that monitor training and taper athletes at the right time so they are rested, fit, and mentally ready. In the below video & excerpt, examples plus descriptions of how to implement peaking & tapering models are explored to help athletes reach their full potential.

Tapering, a form of recovery, implies reducing the amount of training volume over several weeks (or a month) while also enhancing or maintaining fitness.  Here’s an example of reducing volume of training in a mesocycle via a taper:

Mesocycle III taper example

  • Week 1 live wrestling in minutes: 57
  • Week 2 live wrestling in minutes: 45
  • Week 3 live wrestling in minutes: 36
  • Week 4 live wrestling in minutes: 30

Note: the live wrestling in minutes is the total volume for each week.

Tapering is similar to a recovery week except that it is a longer time period of reducing the volume of training in a progressively, exponential manner.  The idea behind the taper is to reduce the fatigue built up from a high performance training plan while also maintaining or increasing fitness.  When this is done, a peak in performance is possible because the fatigue from months of training has been reduced based on the fitness fatigue theory.

Because most wrestling teams compete weekly, if not by-weekly, it is difficult to peak for every competition.  So, one alternative is to train through many tournaments or competitions and peak for a select few competitions.  This implies tapering likely 3-4 times per year so fitness is not diminished significantly.  If coaches taper more than 3-4 times per year, it is unlikely the athletes will peak that many times due to variables like under-recovery, reduced amounts of training/fitness, psychological fatigue, and too many competitions.

Another alternative is to have “real” competitions once per month or so and have training matches in the wrestling room. Training matches allow for a high performance training model that minimizes fatigue and maximizes training.  The result of focussing on peaking and tapering athletes for 3-4 competitions per year allows the athletes enough time between each event to fully recover and be extremely motivated for state, national, and international competitions.  I had success with this alternative at the USOEC where many of my athletes went on to win championship medals at all levels nationally and internationally.


You can also learn more about High Performance Training right now at the below links:

Copyright © by Coach Shannyn,  All rights reserved