Periodization strategies for youth development

Document Type

Book Chapter




Faculty of Health, Engineering and Science


School of Exercise and Health Sciences/Centre for Exercise and Sports Science Research




This chapter was originally published as: Haff, G. G. (2013). Periodization strategies for youth development. In R. S. Lloyd and J. L. Oliver (Eds.). Strength and conditioning for young athletes: Science and application (pp. 149-168). London, England: Routledge. Original book available here


Periodization is fundamentally a planning paradigm in which training interventions are structured so as to maximize performance or adaptive responses in accordance with the athletes’ needs (Haff and Haff 2012; Haff in press). While typically not considered to be a large part of the training practices of youth or developmental athletes, periodization as a planning paradigm should form the foundation of any long-term athlete development model. Long-term athlete development models clearly present timeframes or periods in which specific targeted outcomes are emphasized along the athlete’s developmental journey from early foundational developmental training towards high-performance competition that is targeted later in their athletic life. If we consider that these outcomes are the goals or emphasis of the training process it is evident that we can structure, or more precisely periodize, the athlete’s training activities in accordance with these established parameters (Figure 11.1). Providing this type of a structural framework would then increase the effectiveness of the overall long-term athlete developmental model.

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Not open access