Conventional wisdom says that when the competitive season ends that you take a period of active rest, traditionally this is as long as a month. Several years I began to question the wisdom and in fact the efficacy of this. Wasn’t this just a vestige from the out dated and now passé eastern European periodization models that we have been brainwashed with? Weren’t we in fact taking a step backward and losing fitness and compromising our technique and losing fitness for the following season? In fact by taking this active rest weren’t we just “dulling the knife.”
When the season ends you are at peak fitness levels and technique is fine tuned to the highest levels so why not take advantage of this? So three years ago with the professional beach volleyball players that I work with we started using an Opportunity/Experimental phase after the peak the competition season, this replaced the rest or active phase. The idea was to take advantage of the peak fitness and sharpness and use this period to refine technical elements, to try new training methods that we would use in the subsequent year, in short to experiment and take advantage of the fitness.
The number of training days was reduced from six days a week to five and one of those was an entirely different activity like kayaking or paddle boarding. Two other days were technical and two other days were explosive power oriented. Sessions were short, no longer than 45 minutes. We followed that with four weeks of four days a week and then two weeks “off” where they could do anything they wanted as long as they were active. We then began the new training year with a foundation block that started at a much higher level than previously. Give it a try I think you will see good results with this concept.