Both of these papers are well worth reading. They both challelge conventional wisdom. They should get you thinking.
The Rocky Road to the Top: Why Talent Needs Trauma
Collins, Dave; MacNamara, Áine
Sports Medicine. 42(11):907-914, November 1, 2012.
The increasingly well funded and high-tech world of talent development (TD) represents an important investment for most sports. Reflecting traditional concepts of challenge and focus, the vast majority of such systems expend a great deal of effort maximizing support to the young athletes and trying to counter the impact of naturally occurring life stressors. In this article, we suggest that much of this effort is misdirected; that, in fact, talented potential can often benefit from, or even need, a variety of challenges to facilitate eventual adult performance. Our argument is built on evidence that such challenges are more common in athletes who reach the top, together with a critical consideration of the modus operandi and impact of psychological/character-focused interventions such as mental toughness and resilience. In conclusion, we explore some implications for the design and conduct of optimum academies and TD environments.
Periodization Paradigms in the 21st Century: Evidence-Led or Tradition-Driven? John Kiely
IJSPP Volume 7, Issue 3, September 2012, 7, 242- 250
The planning and organization of athletic training have historically been much discussed and debated in the coaching and sports science literature. Various influential periodization theorists have devised, promoted, and substantiated particular training-planning models based on interpretation of the scientific evidence and individual beliefs and experiences. Superficially, these proposed planning models appear to differ substantially. However, at a deeper level, it can be suggested that such models share a deep-rooted cultural heritage underpinned by a common set of historically pervasive planning beliefs and assumptions. A concern with certain of these formative assumptions is that, although no longer scientifically justifiable, their shaping influence remains deeply embedded. In recent years substantial evidence has emerged demonstrating that training responses vary extensively, depending upon multiple underlying factors. Such findings challenge the appropriateness of applying generic methodologies, founded in overly simplistic rule-based decision making, to the planning problems posed by inherently complex biological systems. The purpose of this review is not to suggest a whole-scale rejection of periodization theories but to promote a refined awareness of their various strengths and weaknesses. Eminent periodization theorists-and their variously proposed periodization models-have contributed substantially to the evolution of training-planning practice. However, there is a logical line of reasoning suggesting an urgent need for periodization theories to be realigned with contemporary elite practice and modern scientific conceptual models. In concluding, it is recommended that increased emphasis be placed on the design and implementation of sensitive and responsive training systems that facilitate the guided emergence of customized context-specific training-planning solutions.