There is a lot to be learned from sports and especially top athletes that can be applied elsewhere in life. One of these aspects is periodization.

Before I get into how periodization can be applied to non-physical/non-athletic goals I need to establish what periodization is, just hang in there…I’ll tie all this together at the end.

Basically, periodization is an organized approach to training and competition that involves progressive cycling of various aspects of a training program during a specific period of time. It is a way of alternating training to have the athlete peak at competition.

Included in periodization are the 4 key training factors. The training factors pyramid is:

• Layer 1 (bottom of the pyramid) – Physical Preparation (general)
• Layer 2 – Technical Preparation (specific)
• Layer 3 – Tactical Preparation (very specific)
• Layer 4 (top of the pyramid) – Psychological Preparation (mindset)

Layer 1 – Physical Preparation: This phase is used for general conditioning and getting the athlete ready for the next phase. Depending on the physical condition of the athlete this phase can be short, or quite long. The key here is the athlete moves on to Layer 2.

Layer 2 – Technical Preparation: During this phase physical strength and conditioning drills and exercise are introduced that have direct transfer to the specific sport. There is a strong crossover effect from the drills to the desired sport specific action. An example would be footwork drills for a football player. Think about this…would a swimmer need to footwork drills…no! So the technical preparation is strength and conditioning drills and exercises that will directly improve the athlete performance. Then on to Layer 3.

Layer 3 – Tactical Preparation: These a sport specific drills for the unique to not only the sport, but the role of the athlete. Again back to football, a lineman doesn’t need to improve his 100 yard speed, so he wouldn’t do 100 yard sprints (at least not for position specific applications). Another example, a marathon running would train by doing a 40 yard dash.

Layer 4 - Psychological Preparation – Although this is at the top of the pyramid mindset has to be integrated into every phase. When mindset is addressed at the top is when visualization and relaxation techniques come into play, to name just two.

OK…so how does all this apply to you if you’re not an athlete?

Great question!

Most people stay way too long and often never got out of Layer 1 – general conditioning.
What does this mean?

Let’s say you’re a salesperson. This Layer (1) might be positive mental attitude. Hey, I’m all for PMA…the more the better. But if a person stays with general PMA too long they’ll never “fine tune” themselves and reach their goal.

Layer 2 or the tactical preparation is where you begin to fine tune your skill. Back to the salesperson, here they would take sales training course; read books that would help them improve their overall sales ability.

In Layer 3 (technical preparation) the salesperson would learn everything he/she could about their products, customers, competition etc.

And in Layer 4 they would practice “seeing” the sale call going smoothly and successfully.

OK, I can hear you saying, “Sure this makes sense but I’m not in sales, how does this work for me?”

By looking at what you want to accomplish you need to select “training and conditioning” that moves you from one layer to the next. Most people on a self-development journey will start with Layer 1 (PMA). But to move to the Layer 2 and upward chooses MUST be made as to what supports and what does not support your specific development.

For every chose you make there will be hundreds of chooses you do not make, and this takes mental strength.

The Recap

Layer 1 - This is your general preparation phase. This phase is used to get you ready for more specific training and work.

Layer 2 - This is where you start to hone in on teachings, trainings and education that that has a cross over effect and can be applied directly to your desired skill/role.

Layer 3 – This is laser focused training, this is where you become the expert…the best at what you do.

Layer 4 – This is where you use the power of the mind to control your thoughts and emotions to achieve your desired goal.

There is one more point to be made about periodization…you HAVE to know “who you are” and what you want. A swimmer knows they’re a swimmer and they stay focused on that role. Again...this will take mental strength. But once you have determined “who you are” and what you want periodization will work to being out the peak performance in you.

Author's Bio: 

Gregg Swanson is a certified mental strength coach, clinical hypnotherapist and personal fitness trainer. He owns Warrior Mind Coach and Training. To receive a complimentary copy of the mini e-course “Powerful Secrets to Creating The Mind Strength of a Warrior" please visit: