Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Can a team "peak" too soon?

Michigan coach John Beilein (pictured here) was asked recently whether his team, which was 10-2 on December 29, had perhaps "peaked" too soon.

“The peaking question has always been interesting with me,” he said. “What do you do? Do you tell your team not to go too hard in December because you want to peak later on? I don’t think there’s a key to it. I think you just have to make sure your team has a good combination of not losing their edge and also making sure they have enough rest.”

There was a good opinion piece on ESPN a couple of years ago that addressed the issue of "peaking." Here's a key excerpt:


Look, this isn't swimming, where you measure yourself against a clock and can taper your workouts in an attempt to achieve maximum performance at a desired time. (Even then, it doesn't always work.)

In basketball, you want to win every game. You want to get better every day. I don't get this "peaked too soon" malarkey. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, just that it's silly to suggest it can be prevented.

Again, what can a coach do? Go into practice one day in December or January and say, "You know what? We're playing too good right now. I need you guys to stay in neutral or regress a little and then start improving again in, say, mid-February."