Life Pillars: Performance & Prevention
It might be my coffee this morning. It might be that Austin provided us with a beautiful 75 degree winter day yesterday. It might just be my normal level of excitement to ramble about this stuff.
Today I am fired up!
Let's talk about two of the most misunderstood variables of your athletic journey and, honestly, your journey through life. These two variables are:
Here is the exciting (or harsh) reality for you to consider. PERFORMANCE is not just an athletic variable. It is a life variable. You do not have a choice when it comes to performing in life. Your relationships, your career, and your well-being are affected by your ability to perform.
As my colleague and friend, Siphiwe Baleka says, "Life is a performance."
In the same realm, PREVENTION is not just an athletic variable. Your ability to manage risks and operate with a sense of resiliency is critical to your relationships, your career, and your well-being. Although I want you to move with quality throughout every aspect of your life, the real battle is being able to bend, mold, and absorb without breaking.
I'm a performance coach. I seek to help you achieve more, in a physical and mental realm, than you ever thought possible. That being said, to neglect the value that performance training can provide all areas of your life, would be a ridiculous mistake on my end.
You now know why I have named my community Performance & Prevention. Yes, I want to see you perform in the athletic arena of your choice. I want to see you achieve more physically. I want you to take an active role in your health instead of being a bystander. Yet, performance and prevention do not stop impacting your life at the end of a training session.
Your ability to manage your performance and your ability to prevent breaking is, literally, your life. Training is just the messenger.
Why do we need prevention?
Prevention leads to performance.
Remember what I said earlier in this post. Yes, I think you should strive for higher quality movement. However, I want you to also focus on being able to manage what life and sport have to throw at you.
Vern Gambetta captured this the best:
When I am working with an athlete, I strive to change the definition of perfect. I still use the word but alter its meaning. Instead of making something completely free of imperfections, I want an athlete to change their focus.
Perfect means I want your best effort, your highest focus, and your greatest problem-solving capabilities. Will this always be anatomically "perfect?" No way. Is this something we can improve upon? Absolutely!
Let's change our focus on the variable of prevention. Let's focus on minimizing the negative consequences of sport and life by building resiliency. Look at every major sporting accomplishment ever achieved. You will find an underlying theme of resiliency, always.
Prevention is SIMPLE but often SKIPPED.
I'm knee deep in Jocko Willink and Leif Babin’s book, Extreme Ownership and it is the kick in the tail I have needed. Task Unit Bruiser accomplished amazing feats in Ramadi and change the narrative of the war in Iraq. If you comb through the intense stories of war, you'll notice a common trend. Jocko and Leif executed basic practices and an extremely efficient level. These basics were practiced over and over again and once more for certainty. Mastery of the basics allowed for performance success, even under the most uncertain conditions. It also freed up others to be leaders when command communication was interrupted. What does this mean for you?
If you are an athlete, master the basics day in and day out. If you can do this you will have a fruitful career that lasts longer than the average. Prevention IS the BASICS! The basics give you the foundation to handle the complex. Skip the basics and you'll become like a noodle in water when complexity increases.
If you are a coach, make sure your team understands the basics and understands the ultimate goals. This will free your team to make effective decisions under the stress of competition. Even when you think your team understands and have mastered the basics, don't forget to make them part of your daily practice.
Why should we strive for performance?
Performance at any age is BEAUTIFUL!
If you're a parent, all you have to do is look back to the day your child took his or her first steps. You probably didn't think of it this way but you trained your child to build a foundation to perform. A child's first steps are the early stages of the performance journey! Your heart was probably racing during these first few steps. You were probably in awe.
At USMS Spring Nationals last year, I watched a heat where every athlete was 90 or older. These athletes raced at an amazing level and proved that life is a continuous performance. You know what the best part of that moment was? The cheers from the crowd were the loudest they were all event. Everyone cheered and felt a state of awe. It was beautiful and insanely moving.
You are never too old to perform.
You are on this planet to perform!
Yes, I have focused my efforts on how you perform physically, but performance does not stop there. Life is an absolute gift and we are here to PERFORM. People love or love to hate on Gary Vee, but one of his bits always leaves me absolutely fired up.
You're on this planet by ridiculously small odds. Not performing at your highest level during your time here is a straight-up crime. It is not just in the athletic arena.
What can you do to perform better as a husband? What can you do to perform better as a friend? What can you do to perform better at your career? What can you do to make more of an impact through your life performance?
Don't be a bystander.