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Are You Prepared for the 2024-2025 Season?

What makes your season plans effective and practical?

The upcoming [collegiate] 2024-2025 season is fast approaching, and coaches should have their training plans ready by the end of August. Although it may seem that the new season is still far away, the summer months will quickly pass, leaving little time to prepare amid the Olympic trials and the Olympics themselves.

Recent events like the CSCAA and Central States Coaches Clinic in Chicago have emphasized the importance of season planning, presenting various standard methods and techniques. For instance, USA 2024 Olympic team [men’s] coach Anthony Nesty shared his unique approach to planning his season and weekly loads at the Central States clinic. The Collegiate Swim Coaches Convention (CSCAA) also featured several presentations on periodization and season planning techniques, with a total of five presentations across two clinics. These presentations, however, sometimes delivered conflicting or misleading messages.

Sport Sport System’s platform, based on industry-leading training planning ideas and methodology, has delivered over 500,000 individual and group season plans over the past twenty years, accumulating significant experience and knowledge in this area. Here, we reveal core concepts that make our plans successful.

Periodization Models: Are We on the Same Page?

Back in the mid-1960s, the concept of Periodization emerged, marking a pivotal moment in sports planning. Popularized in the Western Hemisphere by Tudor Bompa, it revolutionized how athletes approached season planning across various sports, including swimming. However, alongside this widely known concept, an alternative approach also took shape around the same time: the “Contemporary Periodization Concept” based on different planning criteria – adaptation.  This newer methodology, rooted in Parametric Training Studies, focuses on understanding how athletes’ behaviors change under different training loads. Unlike the traditional model, which hopes the training will improve performance somewhat, this contemporary approach directly links specific training loads to planned seasonal progressions. Essentially, it aims to optimize specific training effects necessary to support target performance rather than relying on a generalized improvement over time.  This approach allowed the algorithmizing of the training process, which had been kept a secret for several decades.

The Elements of a Successful Season Plan

A well-prepared season plan is invaluable for any coach. Imagine a seasonal plan as a collection of blocks of various sizes and shapes arranged in specific sequences, where each block represents a single workout strategically placed to maximize training effect and performance by the season’s end. Every daily workout is also represented by training loads distributed at the required intensity for maximum effect each week. This is precisely what the 3S training design tool delivers.

To achieve this level of planning and precision, several critical components that define our plan elements need to be identified and formalized. We also need to establish the rules of interaction between these components over time. This approach takes the periodization concept to a new level, allowing the definition of training components at a quantitative level.

Understanding this approach reveals the limitations of “classic” periodization principles, which fail to explain the connection between training components or the rules of their interaction.

A professional seasonal plan should provide clear guidance and connection between three levels of decision-making:

  1. Strategic Level: Define the overall seasonal strategy and its milestones.
  2. Intermediate Level: Define the weekly load distribution on a daily basis for every week of the season.
  3. Tactical Level: Specify the appropriate daily loads and means (sets) in each session.

Most coaches focus on the third level, often missing that it is the outcome of the senior planning levels, and meaningless when taken out of context.

Designing a comprehensive seasonal plan is challenging and requires serious knowledge of sports training methodology. However, Super Sport Systems’ training design tools simplify this task, delivering highly customized and interconnected planning at all levels in minutes. The 3S training design platform does not require prior knowledge and can be used by any user.

Redefining Season Planning with Contemporary Periodization Theory
Purpose of the Season Plan

If the goal is to improve results by season’s end, we need a detailed plan that leads to the desired improvement for each swimmer. The season plan is always a function of the goal we want to achieve, providing a path that supports the desired performance level.

Units of Planning

To achieve desired results, we must train our bodies to deliver the necessary energy to support maximum effort during competition. Different physiology schools define training zones differently, creating uncertainty when designing training sets connected to target energy mechanisms. Despite this, the unit of seasonal planning remains volume in specific energy zones.

Season Strategy

Any seasonal plan comprises a mix of training zonal volumes in a sequential order. The order of training loads in different zones and their focus during specific season periods constitutes a training strategy. Important points include:

  • Competitive Specialization: As an example, the strategy can be defined by whether the focus is on sprint or distance events.
  • Development of Special Abilities: This could involve developing maximal speed or special endurance in specific proportion to each other, essentially defining the “Individual Preparedness Structure.” 
  • Phases of the Season: Each phase requires accurate planning of its purpose and duration.
  • Training Principles: Different strategies produce different responses and have various adaptation limits. A mix of training principles is usually applied, emphasizing the most favorable strategy for each phase.
Season Progressions Planning

A training strategy aims to achieve the desired training effect, usually expressed in improving certain physical qualities, which together define the ability to perform at the main event. The development of these qualities should happen in a specific order and by following independent trajectories.

Respect Adaptation Laws

Improvement during the season is governed by natural adaptation laws, which are constant and universal. The change in individual abilities during the season follows a non-linear progression, described as a Progression Curve that aligns with the natural adaptation curve.  A quality training program aims to plan and apply training stimuli at a level of individual adaptation threshold at any given point of the training process.  

Advantages of Contemporary Periodization

Advantages of Contemporary Periodization

  • Optimum Adaptation: Training loads and their combinations achieve ongoing positive adaptation.
  • Manage Adaptation: Adaptation and performance abilities can be managed with high precision and tracked in real time.
  • Maximal Adaptation: The goal is to reach the maximal possible individual adaptation each season, given the athlete’s current development level and adaptability.  Individual adaptability, in that sense, can be viewed as a measure of “talent” from one side and the quality of the training program itself on another.     

Applying the rules and methods outlined above significantly improves the quality of season planning, offering insights into proper training volume and intensity.

While contemporary periodization principles may require knowledge and significant computation, the Super Sport Systems platform makes their application straightforward for any coach, regardless of previous experience, providing all necessary information in seconds.

special offers:
easy ways to apply contemporary planning methods into your next season program

To make your transition to contemporary planning easy and painless, we are offering two separate programs aimed to enhance your experience with the 3S platform and improve the quality of your training plans for the next season:



Join 3S Summer School, a series of webinars covering the critical elements of season planning. It is a perfect and most effective way to learn more about contemporary periodization principles, understand the Parametric Training concept, the rules, and the consequences of its application, master your season strategy planning skills, and effectively distribute training loads on a weekly and daily basis.

ONLY $79.00 for a Whole Course

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Receive FREE complete season set-up service for your team with any subscription for the next season. This will include entering your swimmers, creating groups, and a season strategy tune-up for each group (up to three).       

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