Is Periodization Dead?

It depends on how one defines “periodization”. If periodization is defined simply as a systematic training plan, then it is most certainly not dead. “No plan survives first contact with the enemy” is a popular saying in the military. In other words, combat is highly unpredictable and very difficult for which to plan. Consequently, mission plans are seldom followed to the letter. Nevertheless, military leaders who acknowledge this reality are not advocating that planning be totally abandoned. Some degree of planning allows one to improvise and adapt when unpredictable situations arise. Similarly, coaches need to be adaptable while also adhering to some type of conceptual framework or planning process to better respond to an athlete’s fluctuating readiness. The relationship between forecasting/planning and improvising is really a conversation about rigidity and chaos. The potential need to deviate from a plan does not diminish the utility of planning. Complete faith in one’s planning reflects an extreme degree of rigidity. Totally abandoning planning because life is unpredictable is succumbing to chaos, however, and is equally unhelpful.

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