Taper, Peaking and Getting Ready


This is championship season in indoor track and short course swimming so I have been thinking about peaking and tapering. Here are some thoughts on peaking, taper and getting ready for the big competition. This is not heavy on science but leans more on my experience and observations of coaching who have done this well over the years. It directed toward track & field and swimming but the ideas apply equally as well to all other sports.

“Sometimes in the peaking process is not what you do it what you don’t do.” John Larralde, track coach speaking at GAIN on preparing his milers to win California State High School championships.

What you do NOW is an accumulation of what has been done before

Don’t aim to maintain- stabilize

Females must stay strong- Strength training must be there, it does not take much

This is all about racing your race- the times will drop if you race

Race simulation is crucial- get them comfortable with their race plan

Technique and coordination must be stressed throughout

Touch on all components in the CONTEXT of the RACE PLAN

If in doubt DOBT don’t do it. One less rep or set is better than one more

Leave them wanting more

Strength Training- Recycle through areas that make them feel good- connected, coordinated and synced

In this phase the science of coaching takes a back seat to art and feel for what you are doing

Clearly communicate the message that the preparation has been done. Get them looking forward to Racing and Competing!

Easy Fast

Focus on distribution of effort

More of the same, rather different- Just disguise it

All preparration is about being Race Ready & Race Hardened

Reinforce what got there- “Dance the last dance with who brought you to the dance”

Vern Gambetta

Vern Gambetta

Director at Gambetta Sports Training Systems
Vern is the Director of Gambetta Sports Training Systems. He has been the a conditioning coach for several MLS teams as well as the conditioning consultant to the US Men's World Cup Soccer team. Vern is the former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox and New York Mets. He has lectured and conducted clinics in Canada, Japan, Australia and Europe and has authored six books and over one hundred articles related to coaching and sport performance in a variety of sports. He has a BA in teaching with a coaching minor and an MA in Education with an emphasis in physical education from Stanford University.
Vern Gambetta


Athletic Development Coach & Consultant. Founder of GAIN Network. Proud dad. Love to read everything.
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Vern Gambetta

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