Most dudes want the reward and not the struggle. They want the result and not the process. They’re in love with the victory but not the fight. Well guess what bro? GAINS don’t work like that! Who you are is defined by what you’re willing to struggle for. Our struggles determine our success. Training to reach optimal levels of performance is an upward spiral and if you think at any point you’re allowed to stop climbing, I’m afraid you’re missing the point. Because the joy is in the climb itself.
When I say “the value is in the process” I’m referring to the constant feedback & self organization that comes with “figuring it out” and In order to let this process occur naturally you must be willing to train over longer periods of time & accept non linearities in your training.
ACCEPTING NON-LINEARITIES IN YOUR TRAINING
Nonlinearity is a common issue when examining cause-effect relations. Such instances require complex modeling and hypothesis to offer explanations to nonlinear events. Nonlinearity without explanation can lead to random, unforecasted outcomes such as chaos. Most people associate the word "choas" with “BAD”. I agree, chaos can cause stress in ones life and can suck at times. But in regards to training...THIS IS WHAT WE WANT!!! Because chaos breeds order and efficient movement in the long haul! This is a super hard concept to accept but so is expecting an athlete to always be in harmony with their movements. But yet this is the expectation we see most from parents and athletes and we wonder why there is so much self doubt instilled in athletes followed by dis-jointed movement. It doesn’t take a team of neuroscientists to figure out that you are only contributing to the underlying problem when you set these expectations and solely focus on the outcome. Expecting there not to be constant challenges and complete chaos in your development is like expecting there not to be gravity. Not gonna happen!
To put things in perspective, take driving a car for example...Your steering wheel operates all 4 wheels right? Now, Imagine each wheel acting independently (Degrees of Freedom) where you would have to control each wheel separately in order for you to steer your car and stay in-between the lines. If this isn’t already hurting your brain, now imagine having 4 different steering wheels (each steering wheel controlling each wheel separately). Lets go even deeper and add some environmental factors to really mind F*ck. So now you're trying to operate 4 wheels with 4 different steerings wheel on 3 hours of sleep with a crying baby in the back seat. A rabbit just ran out in front of your car and the light just went from a slow yellow to a quick RED. At this point if you’re still following, you are probably thinking "Well I just drove this car off a cliff”. But this is exactly what the human body & CNS is experiencing throughout the swing/delivery except the human body is a bit MORE COMPLEX. Let’s take the arm for example. The human arm has 26 degrees of freedom all acting independently from one another (the car you just drove off a cliff only has 4). Add the same environmental factors and throw an umpire in there and let’s make it game 7 of the world series in front of thousands of fans. Oh ya, your mom & Dad are also screaming from the stands telling you “That’s my boy!!!” YA......I think you get the point. Shit is complicated and you’re only making it worse!
CONSTANT FEEDBACK & SELF ORGANIZATION
It’s natural to think that when we’re making progress, we’re learning, and when we’re struggling and making errors, we’re not learning as well. So people who are responsible for training can often be pushed toward training conditions that are far from optimal. The problem is that if people confuse the current sense of ease with learning, they’ll tend to prefer training conditions where things are kept constant and predictable—conditions that act as crutches to prop up performance without fostering learning and self organization. The idea here is again that accepting non linearities in our training allows athletes to accept & embrace failure and we all know failure is our greatest teacher. Non linearities & failure force athletes to come up with the best motor patterns given the nuances of the specific task at hand. This is imperative for long-term skill development that allows for flexible and adaptable motor recruitment in the heat of the moment, when competition and other variables are introduced.
Many athletes & coaches have a short window of understanding for accepting non-linearities in our training or simply lack the knowledge when it comes to how much motor control actually plays a factor in performance. But please understand that player development & improvement in performance is NOT binary! The world we live in is not binary. You have to make the best decisions over and over and over and over again and in the long run, things start to smooth themselves out and become autonomous. Even if there was a magic potion and a way to make a quick fix over night to produce that desired outcome, have you ever considered the consequences that may follow with such quick fixes? Living systems store, retrieve, transmit & respond to information essential to life processes. Systems that rely on homeostasis rely on feedback mechanisms and can be affected by a number of environmental factors. The human body organizes itself in such a way that it COMPETES (natural selection). If you make drastic changes and disrupt homeostasis so quickly you’re just asking for injury....Your asking for short term success. Accepting non-linearities in your training creates that guided discovery and kinesthetic feel that promotes our athletes growth and understanding of their movements. On the contrary, focusing on the outcome does no such thing. The outcome only gives us a quantifiable which is useful for measuring growth but it is only a number to cheer about and were not here to be cheerleaders. We’re also not here to try and win our girlfriend a teddy bear at a carnival...We're here to develop skill acquisition and reach optimal levels of performance!!