Periodisation: Learning from the Flying Finn

Reflections on schools, teaching and education.

This post has been co-written with United Learning’s Head of Sport Shaun Dowling (@ShaunD10)

“Some do well in other races, some run fast times, but they cannot do well in the ultimate, the Olympics … The question is not why I run this way, but why so many cannot.”

These are the words of Lasse Viren, also known as the ‘Flying Finn’ as he tried to explain his knack of peaking at the right time – a knack that landed him four gold medals in long distance events at the 1972 and 1976 Olympics.

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Like our pupils, athletes have a long build-up to the events that matter, and like our teachers, it’s the job of coaches to break this build-up into smaller units to ensure that their athletes peak at the right time. It’s a process athletes call ‘periodisation’.

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