Training Tips - Peak Performance - December 2007

Peak performance is the art being at your very best at the correct time of year. I say it is an art due to the fact that this is not an absolute science. There are many trainers that can get their some of their athletes to peak at the right time but not all. The one that comes to mind mostly is that of Don Ptaff (Donovan Baily’s trainer). Donovan Bailey was always at his highest performance for the premiere events in his sport(100 metre dash). He destroyed his competition at the 1996 Olympics but prior to and after the Olympics he was mediocre. Then when the next big race came around again he won. This is what you want. Hit your highest performance when it counts most.

Don’t worry about the small meets in between. You need to determine when you want to excel at your very best then tailor your training to make sure that you are at your best then. If your goal is to win a National Championship then that’s when you want to peak. If it’s the first of September you don’t want to be in top form in June or November. You want your best performance that day. In today’s World the difference between first and 5th could be as little as 5% strength difference. Therefore if 4 people are at their top performance and you are not then you could be that 5th place finisher instead of standing at the top of the podium.

How you peak at the right time will be a mater of trial and error unless you have the advantage of a professional coach. A good coach will put you on a program that will have a series of intensities. There will be varying degrees of workouts from light weight to very heavy weight. You will build from the light to the heavy then back to the light when your best is needed. You cannot expect to be at 100% if the week before you are doing exercises at 100% your 1 rep max.

When you have “broken down” your muscles they need time to recuperate. How long depends on the individual which is why this isn’t an absolute science. You cannot be 100% if you are the least bit broken down. Peak performance is being 100%. Therefore you need to “train down” to get your body up to 100%. Training down means that you will back off the heavy training and start doing lighter workouts leading up to your big event.

Peak performance also requires other factors. Diet. If you are starving your body of needed nutrients then again you can’t be 100%. Sleep. One of the most overlooked aspects of training. If you push your body and push your body to achieve optimum performance without proper sleep you are robbing your body much the same as if it isn’t getting enough nutrients. It also affects the brain and it’s capacity to think properly. If you aren’t thinking you’re not reacting quickly enough to changes that are happening on the table. In a sport that requires fast reflexes you need your mind to be as sharp as possible.

There are many books and knowledgeable people on this subject. Seek out these resources and figure out what you need to do to be at your very best when it counts.

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