Becoming the Best Athlete Possible
When it comes to chasing performance, many people get caught up in not knowing what to do next. They get a vision of where they want to be and start working towards it. They think just train more! Which is right, but this is only a fraction of the equation. Many of the athletes we work with workout 4+ times/week between school and on their own already. They know “more” will help get them further, but these same individuals need to learn how to apply intent and intensity into their sessions aka they need to learn how to train rather than workout. When we make this mindset switch over through MAP programs to training towards a certain goal we can find miniature goals to pursue to get to that bigger goal like a 40” vertical jump, 500lb deadlift, .9 flying 30yd sprint, etc. From there, we get stuck at times in our progression forcing us to go even deeper to accomplish these miniature goals. That sticking point is what separates people that get stuck on one level from the ones who go to the higher level. Life exists in levels just like video games. Each level has a different boss to defeat and until you beat that boss, you’ll get stuck on your current level. Getting stuck = not getting the all state jacket, going into a depression due to a low level of belief in self/imposter syndrome, not living up to the potential of your best self. We allow our athletes to progress to each new level in sport/life by giving them the opportunity to train with a system that opens the doors to the boss rounds of the game. They get an opportunity to beat the boss or better yet get beat by the boss, regroup, and get stronger mentally and physically before they come back and win granting them access to the next, more challenging level. Life is simply a series of this process of meeting a challenge and finding a way to overcome that challenge. Set the vision of where we want to go, learn how to properly train, figure out what is going on that is preventing us from beating the boss.
“Ok, ok, ok, I have the vision set for the goal I want and now I am training at the highest level I can. I hit 8-16 workouts/sport sessions each week, but my sprint or jump is stalling and I don’t know how to fix it. Just tell me what to do.” This is an example of an athlete getting to the boss round and finally getting beat. At this point, many will start looking outwardly and making excuses or will become disappointed in self and start coping in new ways oftentimes losing belief in self and taking them even further back. Now more than ever, we live in a society where that is the normal making it the easiest time in history to advance past the masses. Once you have opened Pandora’s box into the world of becoming your best self, you can’t go back. Every time that individual tries to go back, they simply fall into a deeper hole. If we can’t go back, but we also can’t figure out how to go forward, what do we do? For our athletes, we first recommend looking at total training volume. If they are in that 8-16 weight + sport sessions/week range, we move onto looking at their recovery. Whoever recovers the best becomes the best. Again, whoever recovered the best becomes the best. Don’t get me wrong, some individuals simply have better genetics that allow them to not have to worry about this part as much at a lower level in sport/life, but the higher the level they pursue, they too will eventually be met face to face with this challenge and the ones who beat it will continue to advance.
We break recovery down into different boxes; spiritual health, nutrition compliance, relationships health, sleep performance, life stress management, training volume and intensity, and time spent having fun. When it comes to figuring out which one needs the most work, this requires a team of individuals to assess; best friends of the athlete, family, Drs at times, and coaches. If the individual doesn’t have a strong enough vision or why, they will be unable to perform the next steps which is why this must also be addressed at this point. Many coaches will simply say to do less and while this can be beneficial for a limited amount of time while the individual is working on learning how to check off the box that’s holding them back, this can’t be the longterm solution. We wouldn’t go back to kindergarten and stay there after being in high school and expect to finish college. The same can be said for training; it has to get progressively more challenging (more volume/frequency/intensity) the further we want to go. We prefer to simply create space for the athlete to reassess when this happens. This forces the individual to learn how to be more introspective, to know his/her self to a higher degree. As the individual goes within, with the help of others, the answers start to pop up in a way that make sense to the individual. This more often than not will occur right at the breaking point. That breaking point is typically a lot further than most realize, but when they stick it out until that final moment, the lights finally come back on. And that, that is the most fulfilling reward this world offers.
If you think you’re already the best, you’ve already lost.