Periodization or BFS?
For high school athletes, especially those who play more than one sport, the BFS rotational set–rep system is superior to the most sophisticated periodization systems used by many European countries. This is because the BFS system flows perfectly from one sport season to the next and is ideal for a team approach. But the BFS system can also work well for single-sport athletes because the Tuesday–Thursday program develops speed, agility, and overall athleticism. These are bold statements, so let’s analyze why they are true.
Periodization is dividing an annual plan of training into phases to attain peaks during the most important competitions. Some people categorize these phases as preparation, competition, and transition. These phases are normally broken down into subphases called macrocycles or microcycles. Each cycle varies the sets, reps, exercises, and training intensity (i.e., the amount of weight lifted).
On the surface, the periodization cycles used by elite athletes in the former Eastern Bloc countries seem to have great merit. Many top universities espouse periodization. So why shouldn’t high schools do the same? Here are five reasons:
1. Training teams. Periodization was originally intended for individuals. Many universities train their athletes in small groups, whereas high school athletes usually train as a team so that coaches can organize the workout as they would a practice. With the BFS system, the intensity levels of teams and individuals can reach incredible heights because it’s possible for all athletes to see progress on a daily basis, and their enthusiasm for their success becomes contagious.
2. Peaking for competitions. When do you peak in a periodization program? Do you choose to peak for homecoming, the conference championship, or the playoffs? In many periodization programs, you would peak for one major contest each year. In American football, you had better have some sort of peak every week, or you won’t have to worry about peaking for the play-offs.