Overview of The Planning Process
Canoe Slalom is predominantly an anaerobic event (Athletes compete for approximately 100 seconds’ reach hearts rates close to 180 to 190bpm along with lactic acid levels around 15mmol/L). To maximize one’s anaerobic capabilities the athlete will need training to increase the capacity of their anaerobic energy system. The anaerobic capacity workouts are designed to expand the anaerobic energy system and enable a canoe slalom athlete to build a good foundation for improving their anaerobic power. The purpose of anaerobic capacity work is to enhance muscular ability to tolerate a highly acidic environment and sustain high output even though the intensity is high enough that the anaerobic glycolysis by-products cannot be offset to the bloodstream. This is in contrast to anaerobic endurance (conditioning) training, where the focus is on buffering the acid on a system-wide level, but the intensity is rarely high enough that maximal muscular effort is required
Athletes train in order to be prepared at the highest level of performance possible, (Hare 1982).
Bompa (2009) suggests that training is an organised process whereby the body and mind are constantly exposed to stressors of varied volume and intensity. The athlete then has to adapt and adjust to the required workloads in order to perform.
Bompa and Hafff (2009) identified planning as the most valuable resource the coach has at their disposal. By using a well-organized and proven process like periodization, the coach can construct a training timeline that allows each athlete to optimize performance at the right time.
The annual slalom planner is split distinctly in two parts, 1 - The close season from November through to April and 2 - The competition season, April through to September).
Periodizarion definitions. A macrocycle is an annual plan that works towards peaking for the goal competition of the year. There are three phases in the macrocycle: preparation, competitive, and transition
A mesocycle represents a phase of training with a duration of between 2 – 6 weeks or microcycles
A microcycle is typically a week because of the difficulty in developing a training plan that does not align itself with the weekly calendar. Each microcycle is planned based on where it is in the overall macrocycle
I have chosen to demonstrate how I would plan the final 15 weeks of training for a full time senior canoe slalom athlete preparing for National Team selections in preparation for selection for World And European Championships.
Canoe Slalom requires a combination of power, muscular endurance and this depends on the maximal strength of the athlete in question. Bompa and Hafff (2009) identified planning as the most valuable resource the coach has at their disposal.
It is well documented that periodization is not the only approach to designing training programs, other approaches include, Reverse, Block, Technical. I have chosen the periodization approach and feel the strengths of it are that the periodzed blocks work well in Canoe Slalom due to the nature of energy systems required along with the specific technicalities the sport require. The potential weaknesses of periodisation are that it can be inflexible and does not facilitate lengthy periods injury, illness, inclement weather.
1. 6 weeks focus on Technical, Tactical, Aerobic and Anaerobic Endurance, Maximum Strength.
2. 6 Weeks focus on Technical, Tactical, Performance Delivery, Specific Speed, Anaerobic Endurance, Strength Power.
3. 3 Weeks focus on Technical, Tactical, Performance Delivery, Taper & Maintenance.
By working as a team (Athlete, Coach and service providers) it makes the decision making process a shared responsibility and creates a positive environment as everyone is part of the common goal of performance.
As with most technical sports the coach and athlete find themselves having to strike the balance between the number of technical and physical sessions. The physical demands of the sport mean that the athlete needs to both physically fit and strong enough to cope with the demands of training in the white-water environment day in and day out let alone the physiology of the competition run itself.