Coaches may use the concept of ‘unloading’ to help enhance the recovery and thus the adaptation of players. Unloading is a deliberate recovery or unloading phase in a block of training (Zatiorsky and Kraemer, 2006). In simple terms, it is a period (e.g. a week or some days) where the training and practice volume is significantly reduced. Training programmes usually build up the workload on the players over several weeks and are then followed by an unload week to enhance recovery. Planning an unloading phase regularly into the programme is important. If this is not done, then overtraining can occur. Planning an unloading week each month or after a 5-6-week period is recommended so that the player can reduce the number of training units during this period and return to a more recovered and thus fitter state before starting the next training block (Kraemer et al, 2003; Hennessy, 2011; Turner, 2011).
The diagram below shows a typical 3:1 loading pattern with three weeks of building the workload up followed by an unloading week (Turner, 2011)