Periodization – Expanded and Explained.


Periodization is the changing of training or recovery emphasis periodically throughout the calendar year. Utilizing this concept is very important for all skill development in hockey.

Periodization provides a technique of dividing training and practice time into training phases (pre-season, in-season, and off-season) and into training cycles (macrocycles, mesocycles, and microcycles).

Typically, the hockey player’s optimal skill development should follow a logical training and practice sequence over the hockey season with precise objectives and performance goals.


In the off-season, elite hockey players must be involved in dryland training (off-ice training) in order to increase their physical fitness, by developing a good aerobic base, a general strength base and general flexibility.


During this phase of training (which includes the training camp), the player should continue dryland training to maintain the aerobic and strength bases gained during the off-season and to develop the peripheral aerobic energy system. The basic introductory training achieved in this phase will provide the base for more complex and intense training needed during the next phase.


The purpose of this phase is to continue to develop the technical, tactical, psychological skills needed at the elite level, while competing and travelling. However, coaches should now begin to place more emphasis on continuing to perfect the technical skills and they should keep the training intensity high in practices and playing intensity high in games.


A macrocycle is a smaller block of time associated with a training phase that organizes a hockey team’s training toward very specific objectives and performance goals. Each macrocycle varies in training volume and training intensity. There are various types of macrocycles that are incorporated into a competitive hockey season. Each macrocycle has specific objectives and should contain the appropriate volume and intensity for each practice.

The duration of each macrocycle depends on the training phase and the performance goals that have been established. At the competitive level a team will use macrocycles of a duration of one (1) month with an average of two (2) sessions a week, for a total of eight (8) sessions for each month.


Mesocycles are two (2) week blocks of time designed to maximize the gains in physical fitness and may include dryland training and other fitness activities. Nutrition should also be taught and monitored throughout each mesocycle. The “Physical Preparation” portion of training should contain the appropriate work/rest ratios that are recommended for each mesocycle within the month.


A microcycle refers to a weekly training program. Each daily practice within the week is responsible for eventually achieving the training objectives and the performance goals within each macrocycle. In order for transfer of learning to occur, practices of similar objectives and content must be repeated 2 to 3 times during the same microcycle. The high volume of repetition within each of the microcycles is imperative for learning any technical skill or developing any biomotor ability.

In order to achieve a high level of performance, the entire hockey season has to be properly planned and periodized.

A well organized plan over a long period of time greatly increases the efficiency of performance for any future games and tournaments.


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