Monday, May 19, 2008

10 Years Experience vs. One Year's Experience 10 Times

10 Years Experience Vs. One Year's Experience 10 Times

Experience can be all-important, but there are exceptions. We've all met the co-worker, coach, trainee, or athlete that is on cruise-control - just going through the motions. They haven't done or learned anything new in years. They are just trying to get by, doing enough to collect their paycheck, enough to NOT get fired, enough to maintain their current, unimpressive performance levels. You see them in every field and every sport or hobby. Rather than redoubling or refocusing their efforts, they do what they know will keep them where they are - nothing impressive, mind you, but comfortable, predictable results.

Another co-worker or athlete we all know and love is the one who trains or works like gangbusters only to meet with miserable failure or injury... repeatedly. Cliche, I know, but sometimes it really isn't just about working harder, it's about working smarter. Athletes used to pushing the envelope in training are very susceptible to this - "It didn't work last time, but it HAS TO work this time!", "If only I can just do one thing right, the whole thing will fall into place." Recently, I had a young man correspond with me, asking for some training advice - the conversation went like this:

Young Man: "Everytime I've done Smolov in the past, I've gotten injured, but I'm stronger now. Do you think I should do Sheiko or Smolov?"
Me: "Well, if a program has injured you repeatedly, it's probably a good idea to avoid it."
Young Man: "So, Sheiko or Smolov?"
Me: ...

Don't allow yourself to fall into these blackholes of mediocrity. Take every training session as an opportunity to improve yourself in some way, no matter how small. Keep a training log and make every mesocycle a learning experience. Don't allow false delusions of "consistency" to excuse you from new (and needed) change.

Make your experience count for something besides 'X'es on a calendar. Make your journey worth more than a conservatively counted hill of beans.


Dr. Mark Cheng said...

So well said, Boris-san. I was making all these plans to improve stuff when I was in Europe. Now I'm back in LA and finding myself sucked back into the ratrace.

Gotta break (or rework) some patterns and forge a better, stronger life!

Boris said...

Thanks Doc. I write these for my own benefit as much as anything - it's very easy to fall into a rut.

Andy and Judy said...

Albert Einstein said (although he may have been quoting someone else) that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

Your blog isn't at all what I expected (tips on improving my miserable squat--I suppose the title misled me), but since it's good I've kept reading it anyway. Most of your posts are thought-provoking. I can't say that I've found much that I disagree with, so you must be right about most things!

Boris said...

Thank you Andy and Judy.

I have videos on YouTube that are about squatting. I haven't commented much on them here, but check them if you have time:

I enjoyed reading some of your blog earlier this morning - certainly inspired me to be a better person! Thank you.

Andy and Judy said...

Yeah, the squat videos where how I discovered you in the first place. I've downloaded them all. I've watched some of them several times. I still need to go over a few again, and there are still some I haven't watched yet.

Glad you enjoyed the blog.


Per Rommetveit said...

Dear Boris!

He could still have done sheiko or smolov, but he should adjust the program. For instance he could lower the percentages and take in more rest days. You should now this, as you are a person that deal with people all the time. Frankly I'm a bit disappointed by your answer. Would you respond to someone that tells you they get a problem when running to avoid running? Or would you ask them to see what the problem really is, and then gradually build up their capacity. Perhaps the person needed to lose 20lbs of weight first, perhaps it is better to start walking fast (you could call that a modified version of running)..

Boris said...

Per Rommetveit,
Of course he could adjust the program. Of course he could take in more rest days.

Most people that ask me questions like the young man above are either incapable of, or unwilling to do, the planning and constant adjustments necessary modify a program to fit their needs and limitations. They want quick and easy answers to complex questions - more than likely they will NOT train consistently and intelligently enough to get one year of meaningful experience, let alone 10...

If my answer disappoints, I'm sorry, but that is how I view this issue.

Unknown said...

That's a disappointing comment. Walking fast is a modified version of walking, not running.