First periodization models and concepts can be found almost 2000 years ago, in ancient Rome
and Greece  however what is currently understood about traditional periodization came from
our Comrades in 1949 , when training was divided into general, preparatory and specific
stages. Later it was including competitive calendar and climatic factors. 
Periodization has been defined as the methodical planning and structuring of training process
that involve a logical and systematic sequencing of multiple training variables aimed to optimize
specific performance outcomes at predetermined time points.  In team sport, like in a lot of
individual sports this traditional model was used. However the current competitive requirements
for the team sports challenge it. Below I will describe the traditional model, and after that I will
propose alternative methods based on recent studies in team sports and testing. This is a
snippet from my eBook about volleyball performance (book that just sits on my computer so far,
if there will be an interest I will probably release it) so this will focus around volleyball, but the
methods are applicable to most modern team sports in terms of intensity and frequency of
practice and competition games.
Traditional periodization has an annual plan that can be divided into Macrocycles:
However due to the demands of modern competitive volleyball we can observe up to three-peak periodization in the traditional model, so you would have up to 3 macrocycles with all the phases spread out, see picture below for one peak, two-peak and three-peak periodization examples.
Transition phase is for players to rest before next macrocyle or season. Light full body activity
with 30% - 50% 1RM is recommended 
It gets more complicated. Each phase or macrocycle is then divided into mesocycles.
Mesosycles are usually composed of 5 microcycles:
Below I will show you examples of an annual periodization model based on traditional model for
college and elite volleyball players. 
So if we have everything figured out, why did I say in the beginning of this chapter that the
traditional model isn’t optimal for today’s athletes?
Reasons are plenty. The traditional model was based on individual sports. Very often it was
matched to drug taking performance of one or three peaking moments in the athletes’ annual
calendar. These days competitive athletes play many friendly games, attend many different
tournaments, their competitive calendar can go on for about 9 months, so it is impossible to
taper and peak for 20-30 competitive microcycles, or 100 games in a season  based on the
traditional model of periodization, therefore it makes very little to no sense to do so.[10, 11, 12,
This model is still viable though for young and amateur players, whose competition phases are
relatively short and can be matched to those done by individual athletes. The other problem with
the traditional model is that even though work seems to be focused on sequencing different
goals, going from general, to specific to power, etc. Trying to hit too many abilities and therefore
can result in conflicting physiological response, due to exercises interacting negatively and
excessive fatigue caused by long periods of multi-targeted training. Then on the elite level, sport
specific progress demands large amounts of training stimuli that cannot be obtained by
concurrent training for many targets in multi-peak environment, where top teams are involved not
only in national championships, but also national, european and world cups.
Then there is the fact that the carryover is not necessarily optimal for volleyball or athletic
performance. Strength phase is a great and important aspect of every periodized training
programme, but often improvement in 1RM squat don’t automatically mean that short sprints on
the court will be faster or that jumping ability will improve. [14, 15, 16, 17, 18] It makes more
sense to challenge athlete with resistance that will not reduce the force and can develop power in
more specific situation that they encounter on the court or field 
Based on the above I think it is impossible to have a specific model for planning a team sport
season. Below I will go through some alternatives that are more suited for multi-peak preparation
and successful performance during the entire annual cycle, which complement the traditional
model is in contradiction.
For elite athletes the training programme needs to be more specific.
Rather than sticking to rigid structures of the periodization model, repeated effort testing that
resembles demands of the match is a much more favourable model, especially in the competition
phase  also known as ‘in-season’ training. This will allow to assess if any changes to the
programme need to be done, especially when the season is in full swing, as there is no way of
predicting the outcome of the players, injuries and situations so coaches need to take into
account the challenges as they face them.
For preparation and transition phase, which I will call ‘pre-season’ and ‘off-season’ from this point
respectively, can have similar approach to traditional model. It can be combined with more sport
specific movement for best result. Currently, best alternative in my opinion, to traditional
periodization is Block periodization where workloads focus on a minimum, highly concentrated
training stimulation per block (60-70% of time, e.g. spike and block, usually two to three targets),
total number of proposed blocks is small (3-4) and a single mesocycle block lasts between 2 and
4 weeks, which allows for the desired changes without excessive fatigue accumulation.
Specialized blocks form periodized training.
Types of mesocycle blocks:
The correct sequencing of the mesocycles within the training stage makes it possible to obtain
"optimal superposition of residual training effects", so as to allow competitive performance at a
high level for all motor and technical abilities every 5 weeks if needed to.
This possibility arises because the training residuals of the basic abilities last much longer than
the residuals of more specific abilities, while the residuals of maximal speed and event-specific
readiness are the shortest.
This can be scaled in intensity in pre-season, season and off-season period with minimal losses
of performance, based on regular weekly testing. Below is a table illustrating multi-peak
conditioning within one annual cycle using block
Another way, and this what you will probably end up with, is to observe the athletes and skills you
want to focus on, test them weekly and apply changes accordingly. However, I feel that the block
model will work best for it, as it allows to apply a lot of focus to specific changes in performance
desired without loss of performance. 
But most important thing to remember is, to train a person, not a theory.
'Greg Mikolap, BSc in Physiotherapy, and a Personal Trainer based in Maidenhead, England. Greg is also a founder of www.PTFolder.com, training solution for people who want to get fit or for people who help others get fit. With almost 10 years experience in the industry, Greg is also a course director for Faster Health & Fitness and is working on his volleyball performance book.'