Coach Samson Dubina US National Team Coach 4x USATT Coach of the Year

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Peak Performance

Learn about the 4 stages of a training cycle

Many professional players peak for certain tournaments each year.  By having a systematic training cycle, these players can perform well at the important tournaments.  There are usually four parts to the six-month season:  Pre-season, in-season, the peak tournament, and post-season.  In this article, I'm going to briefly outline how you can learn to peak for that one important tournament six months from now.
For the first few days before the intense training begins, you should take out your notebook and write out your main goal...  What do you hope to win or accomplish in your major tournament six months from now?  Next, make a plan.  How often do you plan to do drills?  How often do you plan to play practice matches?  How often do you plan to play tournaments?  And finally, determine what changes need to be made to your basic, foundational strokes.
At the beginning of the season, it is very important to work on your base strokes and develop excellent consistency in the long rallies.  Also, during the beginning of the season, you should try to make some improvements to your game.  Realize that it will likely take at least 30-60 days to change a bad habit.  During the beginning of the season, it is also important to strengthen your body - especially your legs and core.  With better fitness, you will be able to train harder and longer during the season and will be less likely to get injured at your main event six months away.  As the season progresses, it is very important to begin doing more game-like drills starting with the serve.  As you play matches, make sure that you take plenty of notes and adjust your practice according to your findings.  Before the make peak tournament for the season, it is also important to play in other tournaments.  Playing tournaments is the best way to understand every aspect of your game and is one of the best ways to improve your mental game as well.
The Peak Tournament
Now, it is time to play your best at your peak tournament.  If you have properly prepared physically and mentally and have played plenty of practice matches and tournament matches, then performing well at your peak tournament should not be a huge issue.  During the competition, treat this tournament as any other tournament, go through your normal tournament routine, focus, and have FUN.
After your peak tournament, it is important to rest for at least one week to allow your body to fully recover.  During this rest weak, spend some time to re-evaluate your season and your peak performance.  Adjust your training plans accordingly and begin strategizing how to come back even stronger the next season!

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