Periodisation in Skiing

Periodisation in Skiing: A Sport Psychology and Integrated Approach

Working now for over four years with GB skier Rob Bullen I implemented the concept of periodisation from a sport psychology perspective into skiing. I had previously introduced the concept of periodisation into professional cricket back in 2002/2003 (
We developed a specialised programme for Rob initially for his 2010-2011 race/training season.

Working as a sport psychologist with Rob and encouraging an integrated environment, I work closely with Neil Welch Robert’s Strength and Conditioning Coach


How can periodisation be used in skiing?

As a sport psychologist I have applied the FOUR phases of periodisation and incorporated them into the skiing framework, making this skier specific:

Four Phases of Periodisation are:

1. Assessment & Introduction of new psychological techniques
2. Implementation of psychology support (On & off snow)
3. Skier specific maintenance
4. Pre-race preparation (establishing & identifying, Gold, Silver, Bronze races)

The above four phases we have integrated into Rob’s on and as well as off snow training. The periodisation coupled with meticulous planning for the different types of races across the season is specific for Rob’s current needs for training and achieving his end of season performance and personal goals.

Within skiing there are a number of external variables that need to be taken into consideration from a psychological perspective and have been taken into account when planning Rob’s skiing specific periodisation programme.

The external variables that could affect race performance are:

  • Weather conditions (race cancellations)
  • Course conditions
  • FIS race points
  • Competitors at FIS races
  • Race starting positions
  • Logistics
  • Race preparation
  • Recovery and rest time in-between races

Working with Rob we have developed a specialised and individualised race programme which incorporates periodisation albeit from a psychological perspective and ensuring that the concept is suitable for skiing and the specific demands of skiing.

Rob’s periodisation programme enables him to taper and be in his best/ideal race state for identified and key races (Gold, Silver and/or Bronze) and allow for training and technical weeks in between races. This enables Rob to be prepared both mentally and physically for Gold, Silver and Bronze identified races, with suitable and sufficient rest and recovery weeks allocated and planned in between.

This enables Rob to specifically work on technical and psychological areas identified prior to key races.

Aims for Robert applying Periodisation:

The concept of periodisation although used for many years in other sports (Swimming, Cycling. Triathlon) is extremely new within skiing. The application and specificity of Rob’s periodisation programme is to ensure and enable Rob to reduce the onset of extreme fatigue, Overtraining or UUPS, reduce the incidence of injury as well as extreme muscle & weight loss; which all can be the resultant of a long race season/skiing season and demanding race calendar. In addition, to enable Rob to be SMARTER when training and racing, thus, attaining better race finishing positions; to further enable Rob to maintain an increased training and race focus for longer sustainable periods across the season.

The overall aim is to enable Rob to manage his weight loss across the season, reduce physical and mental fatigue, increase overall race and training awareness and improve race performance’s. Furthermore, to improve and increase the likelihood of better finishing positions by reducing the amount of races overall by being SMARTER on the choice as well as the number of races across the season/race calendar.

This will be achieved via meticulous, improved, skier specific (not skier generic) individually specific planning and awareness of Robert’s unique training and race needs for this season. This was based upon reflections and evaluations from past seasons as well as comparisons, Race statistical analysis, psychological and Strength & Conditioning data.

Finally, Rob’s periodisation programme and integrated approach assists Rob to attain and achieve more podium winning finishing positions and fulfil his potential as an elite and GB Skier.

© 2010 Amanda J. N. Owens MSc FRSM
BASES Accredited Sport Psychologist & BOA Advisory Panel member
Managing Director Believe Consulting Ltd. Sport & Business Consultancy