Of recent there seems to be an increase in the idea that doing more training will lead to better outcomes. Some of this is supported by the fact that recent research shows that increased exposure to training in a particular sport may have a protective effect regarding injury, Gabbett et al.
However the question that does not get asked often is are you improving by completing training? And if you do more will that lead to better outcomes in performance? It sounds like a silly question, however we don’t often consider whether we are improving by completing training, particularly in sports that are not obviously objective; team sports for instance. In sports that involve numbers such as swimming, running or weightlifting, it is clear whether you are improving or not. Often we hear people talking about the lack of improvement and deflecting that it requires time for such improvement to materialize. This may be true in some respects but if you are not seeing improvement in performance characteristics over the period of weeks to months within the sport specific task and especially if it is in the competition setting, then it is likely that you are doing the wrong training. The key elements that may mask the improvements are fatigue, illness and stress . Barring these, it is quite clear if you are going in the correct direction.
The bigger aspect of why people are not improving gets into the interesting areas relating to training. We have been working on an idea that breaks sports performance into four categories. These categories are mental/psychological preparation, physical preparation, tactical/structural preparation and technical/skill preparation. These four categories make up the pillars of performance. By addressing each of these throughout a training session, week, cycle, we have the opportunity to address what is required for the athlete to perform at their best. In some sports bigger emphasis needs to be placed on certain pillars, however they are always present in each sport to varying degrees. The extension of these pillars is that in order to stress all of the components throughout training, the combination of stressing multiple pillars or all pillars simultaneously presents the best preparation outside of the competition setting. In future blogs we will look at the various aspects of the pillars and how they can be broken down into sub categories to assist with addressing the needs of performance.