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

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