It's a game of averages.....
Firstly, a big thanks to all those who read the first blog post! I was overwhelmed by the number of people who took the time to read my perspective as well as some of my waffle!
Something that I bore my athletes and clients to death with is the idea of achieving better ratios and showing higher levels of consistency in both their training and everyday life to give themselves the best chance of achieving their goals.
What do I mean by that? No one is perfect. At some point you are going to have a bad training session, you are going to make poor food choices and you will have some scenario in your personal life which impacts your training or recovery. However, what you can do is aim to have more good sessions than bad sessions, eat well on most days of the week and try to complete important tasks related to your training or recovery as often as possible.
From a performance athlete perspective, it frustrates me when athletes become content with a session because they execute one good rep or if they become over confident after having a couple of good training sessions back to back. While these may indeed be positive signs, it’s important to keep an eye on the bigger picture. For example, if a discus thrower only has one good throw out of twenty in a training session, no matter how far that particular throw goes, it’s really not the best place to be going into a competition. It’s unrealistic to expect the same throw to be reproduced within three or six throws, in a pressured environment with all the extra factors that come into play during competition. That’s not to say it’s impossible. Some athletes are masters of putting it together under pressure, but compared to an athlete who’s hitting fifteen of those twenty throws clean, I know who’d I’d be putting my money on to produce come the big day.
Furthermore, when you consider what happens at a major championship, the athletes that have consistently thrown far throughout the season or previous seasons will usually come out on top. Yes of course there will be the odd outstanding performance from an athlete who rises to the occasion, but in general those athletes with the highest season average or those with a good ratio of good to bad competitions will produce on the big stage.
The same applies to the “average Joe” as well. With a client who may be looking to lose some fat leading into summer, you’re going to want them to avoid missing too many sessions and try to eat well most meals. If they’re only attending half their sessions on average and they order takeaway for dinner more often than cooking, it’s probably unlikely that they’re going to achieve their goal. Ensuring the client understands that what they do on a consistent basis will ultimately determine their progress will hopefully result in the right actions being taken more consistently.
I’ve been fortunate enough to spend a fair bit of time around some of the best coaches and athletes in the world and it won’t come as a surprise to you that the very best athletes tend to demonstrate the best ratios and show high consistency in all areas. Aside from obviously having physical talent, they turn up with the right attitude and work ethic, relentlessly strive for improvement in every session and they consistently do what is required away from training to ensure they’re maximising their recovery. As a result, they tend to put more “good” sessions together than others and in turn, achieve more progress throughout training weeks, training cycles and so on which over the years really starts to add up!
So, in summary, while the top-end numbers you’re achieving in training are important, don’t forget to analyse how consistent you are in terms of both performance measures and process goals; using those as markers of progress. By all means give yourself a pat on the back if you’ve just achieved a new training best or stuck to a meal plan for a few days, but take a look at what your average performance or average behaviour is and try to ensure your ratios of good reps to bad reps or good choices to bad choices is also improving! Finding a way to do the good stuff more consistently in all areas will usually result in better top end results in the long run.
Thanks for reading folks! I’ll try to get some guest bloggers on soon so you don’t get fed up with me….