The November Internationals between teams from the Southern and Northern Hemispheres have indicated that the Southern Hemisphere teams remain strong favourites for the Rugby World Cup in 2015.
Some had expressed the view that the fact that the World Cup is being played in England would offer an advantage to the Northern Hemisphere teams who would be more used to the conditions. However, the recent run of results suggests that this will not necessarily be any significant advantage.
It remains to be seen whether coaches can manage the crucial task of bringing their squads to a peak by September 2015. No easy task when you consider the players need to be battle hardened and match fit and yet free from injury!
The process of managing a squad of players to periods of peak performance (for a cup competition or league finals, etc.) is called ‘periodisation’.
Periodisation is the planned organisation of training, practice, competition and rest and recovery into blocks or periods throughout a given period of time. The organisation, placement and content of the training blocks are governed by the phase of the season (off-pre-in) and its competition structure (games/competition schedule).
Crucially, where periodisation is applied, the model should take into account the demands of the game and the accumulation of the number of games over the competitive or in-season with the needs of the player in terms of their specific strengths and deficits and their ability to recover and perform.
This means that variation of training, practice, rest and recovery are all key elements of the process of periodisation.
In addition, an appropriate periodisation model has clear goals, which are stated and worked towards during each phase.
Sometimes the phases of the periodised model are called ‘blocks’, ‘periods or ‘cycles’. The terms ‘phase’ and ‘cycle’ are built into the lexicon of the language of Periodisation and so we will use them as the preferred terms.
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