My mother was and still is my role model. She possessed all the qualities of a Hall of Fame coach. I remember like it was yesterday the many sacrifices, the hard work, and the passion that she exuded every day. Her days were painfully long, beginning at 5 am. I can hardly remember a weekend growing up when there were not meets or workouts of some kind. She loved it, however, and so it never seemed like work to her.
As a sport, swimming is way ahead of tennis in terms of preparing and scheduling workouts. Swimming coaches generally plan four years ahead, and the training and scheduling is much more scientific. Having seen the results of this training method first-hand, I was confident the training method could translate to tennis and produce better results. In 1983, I began an experiment to test my hypothesis. The experiment was conducted using two groups. The first group continued our training with no changes, and the second group began training using the Periodization Method. I selected Sergio Cruz to direct the second group using the Periodization principles. Jim Courrier was a member of that second group, and the results were very obvious. Four months after the experiment began, the second group was much stronger, playing better, competing at a higher level, and they were still hungry. In addition, there were zero injuries! Years later, still utilizing the Periodization Training principles, Jim Courrier beat Andre Agassi in the 1991 French Open Final. At that point, Andre was also using a Periodization program I had specifically designed for him.
The Periodization Training Method divides the overall program into specific and distinct periods, so improvements are made step by step, month to month, and year to year. With our proven Periodization Training Method, our students will make the greatest improvements, while also having fun, preventing injuries, and staying mentally and physically fresh.
Each student needs his/her personal training plan, based on his/her personal goals. Our method takes into consideration the different needs of all levels of players, from the novice to the professional athlete. Our students keep a journal with specific rating systems that help us apply this plan more intelligently. We plan the student’s personal Periodization program beginning with his/her goals for the distant future and working backwards to the present.
Our Periodization Method is divided into three cycles: the Macro Cycle (the long-term plan), the Mezzo Cycle (partial planning in the short term, keeping in mind the overall objective of the Macro Cycle), and the Micro Cycle (includes the fundamental parts of the training). During the Micro Cycle, we organize the sessions in accordance to the biological results of the athlete.”
The Mezocycle is divided into five phases:
Training to adapt, Solid foundation in every area
High Volume, Low intensity
The emphasis in this period is to develop muscular and cardiovascular endurance
The training is done at a low intensity, so the students can concentrate on stroke development
2- Developmental Phase:
Training to Train,
High Volume, Medium intensity
Emphasis on anaerobic capacity, which helps the athlete increase muscle strength and improve quick burst of speed.
Use of plyometrics, helping the athlete build power and speed, improve coordination and agility effectively improving students performance.
Students will continue working on stroke production, concentrating on receiving and hitting skills.
Video analysis using dart fish or v1.
Matches are not recommended in this stage since the students are concentrating on basic skills.
3- Prepare to compete Phase:
Training to compete.
Medium Volume, High Intensity.
Speed work, students will work on tennis specific movements, accelerating quickly and running diagonally, forward and backwards.
Agility work, the ability to start, change direction and to stop are key skills for a tennis player.
Offensive and defensive skills, students will improve shot selection.
Simulation of match play intensity, students will learn to play under pressure.
Students must be clear on their style of play so they can organize their game plan or strategy.
4- Competition Phase:
Training to win.
Low Volume, High Intensity.
The fitness has to be done correctly to preserve speed, agility and power.
The emphasis on this stage is to reach the maximum and best competitive level.
Athlete should perform at their best, peak performance.
Little stroke production work during this stage.
The emphasis is on the strategy, the game plan is based on the students and their opponent style of play.
Evaluations of the learning curve, goals are reset.
5- Rest Phase:
Time allowed for the athletes to recover physically and mentally.
There are two types of rest, total rest and active rest, where the student can hit easy for short periods of time or can do cross training with other sports. Both are very important to reach maximum performance.
Sooner or later the athlete learn the reality “ It is easier to train hard but very difficult to take it easy”.
With our system the students train more efficiently in a shorter period of time avoiding boredom, over-training, staying motivated, fresh and injury free.
Gabe Jaramillo created the Periodization Training Method for tennis, utilizing it for the first time in 1983. Among this first group of players who used the Periodization Training Method was Jim Courier, winner of the 1991 French Open title.
“Gabe has always been an innovator in the industry. For example, when I was at Bollettieri’s in the 1980’s, Gabe introduced us to the periodization method which changed how tennis players organized their training schedules.“ JIM COURIER, #1 ATP. Gabe: “I am very proud of the training method I have developed, called the Periodization Training Method. Here is a little history about the origins and inspirations for this concept. Growing up in Colombia, swimming was our life. Although I was a tennis player, everything revolved around swimming. We ate, slept, and breathed swimming. My mother was an Olympic swimming coach, and my brother Jorge participated in three Olympics Games. He had an exceptional butterfly stroke, and he competed against Mark Spitz in Montreal.