Dec 01

Periodization of Psychological Skills Training

I am firm believer in that psychological skills training (PST) (or mental skills training) are one of the means that athletes and teams achieve their dreams.  This part of coaching has been a serious interest of mine since the mid 1990s, and has been a part of my training plans since then. I have relied heavily upon Freeman’s Peak When It Counts, which is a guide to planned performance training for track & field.

One area I have been very curious about is how to synch PST with a periodized plan for athletic training.  I explored this area in a paper in my masters of sport science program but was never able to find any published work on the topic.  Until now.  Evidently I am not the great researcher I think I am.  I recently bought a copy of Tudor Bompa’s Periodization: Theory & Methodology of Training 4th Ed.  In it was my answer!  Of course this resource was published in 1999 and has been replaced by more updated editions which I need to investigate now for multiple reasons including the periodization of PST.  Oh, by the way, Bompa is one, if not, the leading sports authority of the periodization of sports training.

In the 4th Edition of Periodization (pgs 205-206), Bompa suggests the following periodization of PST:

Training Phase                                             Mental Training Objective

General                                                                Evaluate Mental Skills

Learn Basic Mental Skills in a Quiet Setting

Specific Preparatory                                        Adapt & Practice Mental Skills in Sport-Specific Situations.

Maintain Basic Mental Skills

Precompetitive                                                  Develop & Practice Focus Plan

                                                                                 Use Focus Plan in Simulations

                                                                                 Maintain Basic Mental Skills

Competitive                                                       Evaluate & Refine Focus Plan

                                                                              Use Mental Skills to Prepare for Specific Opponents & Competitions

                                                                            Use Mental Skills for Stress Management

Unloading                                                        Use Mental Skills to Aid Regeneration & Lower Stress

The best knowledge that I gained form this resource is Bompa’s discussion of psychological supercompensation.  I have never heard of this in writing but it does make much sense.  As athletes release stress, reduce mental fatigue and restore energy supplies, they feel more optimistic and confident as they ready for competition.

In summary, my point, and moreover, Bompa’s point is to include PST in your periodized athletic training.



  1. Tim Bacon

    Actually, this is my material not Bompa’s – a proper citation would refer to my (Bompa referenced my article which was turned into the Canadian NCCP Level 3 Theory Manual’s mental training chapter – my original SPORTS article was published by the CAC in 1989) published article like this (APA style): Bacon’s article (as cited in Bompa, 2010) – link how to do this is here: http://www.apastyle.org/learn/faqs/cite-another-source.aspx.

    Since Bompa only deals with THREE, not all FOUR training factors I would suggest that those of us (well actually it’s only me:) that plan all four are the experts.

  2. komarudin

    This article is very important to applied in sport,but not complete in the every phase. Could you describe more complete about mental skill training in every phase, thank you. ( I am lecturer at Indonesia University of education, special subect is sport and exercise psychology).

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