I’m sure you have heard people say keep it simple. Even though this is often said, many times we make things tougher than they need to be. This also holds true when training athletes. Life is competition and when we prepare, people tend to want to be advanced. In school we strive to be in advanced placement and in sports we strive to be on the elite teams. There isn’t anything wrong with shooting for the top but remember that simplicity may be the key to reaching the highest level.
If you examine people who are elite, the one major thing they have in common is that they are experts at the basics. They can repeat their skill at a high level without thought and this isn’t by accident. This is due to years of hard work on the basics. Often, people get bored with doing the same repetitive work because it is mindless. It is mindless because they have mastered the craft and can do it with their eyes closed. If you have ever driven to work and don’t even remember consciously navigating the route, this is what an elite athlete does. They can block out all distractions and execute at an elite level without consciously thinking about the task.
When you prepare for your sport or profession you can use the following tips to help you master the basics and get ahead of the competition.
- Discipline- Develop disciplined work habits that can be easily repeated. Wake up at the same time, practice a daily routine that involves both mental and physical activity. The more you do it, the easier it will get.
- Keep it simple- A strong foundation makes all subsequent learning easier. In the gym we progress from simple to hard and easy to complex movements. This may seem obvious but may times athletes and parents get caught up on advanced exercises and drills before they master the basics.
- Pick one skill a day and master it- When you get to the gym, focus on one component of your workout and master it. Everyday pick something different until you master it. Before long you will have a large repertoire of skills that you have mastered.
- Master the mundane- It is easier to get sick of doing the basics. Make a habit of doing the boring first and reward yourself afterwards with something you enjoy. At the gym, we usually do a little soccer kick drill with our guys and see how many kicks we can get without the ball touching the ground. This may seem like a simple game but it is challenging for some of our football guys and brings a little fun to the gym.
- Maximize your time rather than spend more time- Too often athletes feel that the longer they workout the better they will become. Sometimes this has the opposite effect. Don’t count the minutes, count the quality of reps. You are better off doing concentrated quality reps rather than spending hours on poor practice. It is highly rewarding when you know you just crushed a workout and now have more time to do other things you enjoy.
These are only a few tips to help you master your craft. In the end, it comes down to how bad you want it and if you are willing to work. Are you maximizing your reps or wasting your time. The only person to decide that is you. You can checkout some ways we have broken down some complex skills to help our athletes learn. You can click on the following link and see how I taught my son some basic footwork drills that also helped him build some confidence in the gym. You can get involved with our upcoming speed sessions and other programs by clicking here.
Best in Performance,