There's a belief out there that you have to be under such a big load of training stress all the time, that you can't expect to have great performances, or set new personal records very often. This is a load of crap, and any coach telling you that you can't perform well except on rare occasion is a coach to run from.
I see this in the swimming world especially. Apparently, coaches find they can cover their mistakes with a low-expectations approach preached to athletes, while they are pounded with training stress. Just push the risk to the meets that matter, and cross-fingers that the taper will finally pay off. It's a losing, self-defeating philosophy. It's also an approach as old as prohibition. Time to change.
By the time an athlete gets to the big competitions, if they haven't seen clear success along the way, following the process the coaches are guides for them on, then they have no confidence to bring into the bigger competitions. If all you do is beat athletes down, and they never see improvement or reward for the hard work they put in, how can they be confident enough to maximize the training on race day? Expecting them to believe and have confidence in a process which is not showing any success, is a pipe dream. And the worst part is the athlete suffers, when an outsider with no bias can easily say, "Well of course you weren't going to perform well! You never showed any real improvement throughout the process to begin with!"
How do you build confidence from continuous disappointment??? Even when you're physically prepared to, if you don't believe it because the process hasn't proven itself, how to do you maximize performance potential?
You don't. So recognize the plan is failing, if it isn't showing you the results you want.
Here's a simple test to see if the plan is working, and I call it the 2-Day Rule. If you stop your training load and take two very light days of training, (however you define very light, but mostly recovery is the focus), then you should plan a challenging workout on day 3 which is reflective of your goals. That 3rd day should be a "HOME RUN!" in your training. If it isn't one the 10 best workouts of the year for you, then you need to reassess and adjust your training. Of course, if the third day is scheduled to be easy, that can't happen, so must be a workout which is representative or reflective of your goals.
If it is a great workout, you have the confidence to know things are going well, and you'll be ready when it matters. If it is not a good day, then you need to review and determine why not. It may be you got too aggressive in the first few training days leading up to it, or you are carrying too much fatigue in general. Maybe you're aren't training enough even!
The point here is you have to see success in training which translates to performance. If that isn't happening CONSISTENTLY, then you need to reassess, because improvement should be relatively consistent, and not something which requires a taper.