as usual thanks for this great paper and feedback. I like for fun to add her dads critical view or at least the initial review.
THE END OF “PERIODIZATION” IN
THE TRAINING OF HIGH
By Yuri Verhoshansky
Russian sport science expert, Prof. Yuri Verhoshansky, questions the validity of
Matveyev’s theory of periodization, considers it outdated and provides detailed
criticism on why the concept is supposed to be unacceptable for contemporary
Many publications draw attention to the fact that the methodical
recommendations in the concept of periodization are not sufficiently concrete and
fail to meet the demands of contemporary high performance sports. This applies
in particular to team games, endurance sports, speed events in track and field
etc. Periodization also fails to provide acceptable methodical recommendations
for the improvement of specific conditioning and final competition preparations.
Endurance sports experts are most critical about Matveyev’s periodization
theory. A very dynamic organization of training loads has been in these sports
gradually eliminated. Coaches still following the outdated elements of
periodization find it extremely difficult to keep their athletes in top form throughout
the competition season. Attention should also be paid to the fact that the
successes of African athletes (particularly Kenyans) can be explained not only
because they live at altitude, but also because they have rejected the theory of
periodization in the planning of training.
British coach, Frank Horwell, in an article titled “Periodization — Plausible or
Piffle?” claims that the theory of periodization is unacceptable for modern running
training. He also states that neither the former Soviet, nor the West European
runners (male), have broken world records in middle distance running or won
Olympic gold medals over the last 30 years.
Zanon of Italy, a well known expert of the Soviet Union’s training doctrine from
1960 to 1980, has rejected Matveyev’s periodization principles, because “when a
training concept is not based on biological facts — as it happened in the Soviet
theory — but on theoretical understandings without a correlation to realistic
condition, it can be expected that the corresponding training programs will lead to
a loss of sporting talent”.
Tschiene (Germany), in an analysis of several training concepts (1985), comes to
the conclusion that Matveyev’s periodization theory has, since its publication in
1965 remained unchanged, although enormous changes have meanwhile taken
place in high performance sport. He recommended that the theory of
periodization of a yearly training cycle must be reformed and changed to a
modern concept based on substantiated principles that take into consideration
the role of the competition exercise and individualization.
The rejection of the periodization concept was even more categorical in Russia,
where the former Vice-President of the State Committee of Sport, Kolessov,
declared that participants in high performance sports “should not continue to
follow the outdated system of Prof. Matveyev (Sovietsky Sport 1991)”
Periodization is based on the lack of understanding and the
" disrespect"of nature versus calculation to the individual responds of every person to stress and stimulation and the individual responds time therefor.
If we " believe " we can calculate physiological zoning than we ease can believe in fixed periodisation.
If we believe in the possibility ,that we have very individual physiological reactions, than it is easy to accept that physiological reactions will create the periodization,not calculated speculations.
REASONS FOR THE BREAK-UP OF PERIODIZATION
It hardly makes much sense today to analyze the theoretical weaknesses and
clearly senseless methodology of the periodization concept. We will therefore
follow only the major scientific factors involved to avoid a repetition of similar
attempts in the future.
Disregard of new biological understandings.
It is a grave mistake to overlook the biological knowledge and achievements of
sport sciences. In these days it is not necessary to convince anybody about the
value of the “biological components” in the theory of training (Verhoshansky
1993, 1996, 1998). However, Matveyev maintains that the biological laws do not
determine the macro structure of training and the development of form is rather
guided by other laws.
Matveyev agrees in the reference to the theory of adaptation that “adaptive
processes play a certain role in the reconstruction of the organism through
sporting activities,” but claims that “adaptation is only one aspect in the
improvement of performances”. The priority in the interpretation of the processes
involved in the perfection of sporting performances and the related phenomena
should not be regarded as the theory of adaptation but the theory of
development” (Matveyev 1991).
Missing Legalities in Training Concepts
The methodological and scientific untenabilities of periodization become obvious
in the terminological chaos of scientific legalities, principles, directions, principle
thesis, etc. This chaos occurred from a strange and uncompromising search for
legalities in the concept of Matveyev’s theory of periodization.
Matveyev claims that periodization principles “express the biological legalities of
adaptation in training” (Matveyev/Meerson 1984). This was a strange declaration
because it is known that training processes have so far been based on subjective
concepts of their contents, structure and temporal sequence. There are no
“legalities”. At the best we can only talk about methodical rules in training, which
are formulated according to empirical data.
The logically speculative presentation of training and competition without an
objective evaluation led the concept of periodization to an “inseparable
correlation between general and specific preparation of an athlete” (Matveyev
1991). To this were added other similar “legalities”, such as the “cyclic character
of training, a wave-like formation of training” etc. At this time it was already
known that progress in international high performance sports was tied to more far
reaching and complex factors than in the periodization theory. (Jakovlev 1976,
1993; Kassil et al 1978; Sergeyev 1980; Verhoshansky 1988; Viru 1994; Booth
Disregard of Biological Adaptation Processes
Matveyev’s speculative conception was based on a phasic development of top
form. A dynamic development of sporting form was introduced by Letunov (1950)
and Prokop (1959). They were the first sports medicine specialists who
formulated ideas that the improvement of the training state of an athlete is based
on the biological laws responsible for the development of adaptation processes in
training. They arranged these processes into three phases:
1. Ascent of the training state;
2. Sporting form;
3. Drop in the training state (according to Letunov).
2. The highest practical performance capacity;
3. Re-adaptation (according to Prokop).
However, it appears that Matveyev failed to understand the biological ideas of
Letunov and Prokop. This appears to be the reason for his primitive
“pedagogical” interpretation of the nature oftraining. Matveyev merely changed
the nature of training phases and maintained that his phasic development of form
is the natural assumption for the periodization of training. It is easy to recognize
that this concept of training gives from the viewpoint of the “dynamics of the
sporting form” only a superficial picture and is today regarded as naive.