WHAT IS PERFORMANCE STRUCTURE?
Performance (or preparedness) structure is a cornerstone concept for evaluation of athletes’ abilities, allowing connection and quantitative analysis of individual performances on different distances. The notion that athlete’s times on different distances are connected and highly individualistic is highly recognized by practically all professionals. However the research and evaluation methods differ dramatically and produce unacceptable variations. The best outcome of such research is presented in “transition coefficient tables”, or the list of coefficients for recalculation of results between distances. Needless to say, such coefficients, while helpful in general, are a real stretch when we need to identify and apply proper and effective training intensities in sets with different working distances.
For analysis of individual Performance Structure we use method developed in the Former Union in 1980’s, which connects and explains the change of times on different distances. Let us use Michael Phelps performance in 2016 Olympic year as an example his preparedness structure that year:
In a way, his Performance structure is “picture perfect” and consistent with results of our research conducted on several generations of athletes in swimming and other sports. As a matter of fact, the preparedness structure method works in all sports. More so, the transitional coefficients are similar between sports suggesting that this method is universal and can be applied to all types of activities (considering that we adhere to specific test conditions).
WHY ESTABLISHING AND MANAGING PERFORMANCE STRUCTURE IS IMPORTANT?
As we stated above, the knowledge of the individual performance structure of the athlete can serve us as a foundation for intelligent analysis of his abilities, and, more importantly, for intelligent design and management of his training process.
For illustration, please view the comparison of individual performance structure of Katie Ledecky in 2013 (first picture) and in 2016:
As you can see on the graphs, Katie’s preparedness structure was quite different in different periods of her development. The research suggests that the knowledge of current abilities may not only quantify and explain the strongest and weakest points of preparation, but also allows to define a strategy for changing a status quo for achieving brilliant performances demonstrated by Katie in 2016 in Rio.
HOW PREPARNESS STRUCTURE ANALYSIS WILL HELP YOU TO SWIM (RUN, BIKE, ROW) FASTER?
Preparedness structure analysis allows us to connect immediate abilities of every athlete in real time. Since we also know the preferred performance characteristics connected with specific times on distances in every stroke, we then apply most effective strategy with changes the Performance Structure in desired way and provide us with specific training targets (both in model (expected) physiological reactions and intensity (goal times on every distance and every set on a daily basis). We run more then 1ooo calculations to design the optimum training strategy and provide the set of most effective (for this specific day) training exercises. All this will be impossible without scientific approach to individual Performance Structure evaluation…