As some of you may know I am currently in Europe with a group of athletes as they compete in a series of track events across Italy, Norway, Switzerland and the UK. And I find that whilst it may seem glamorous to be doing such travel, the constant shifting of cities, packing and downtime waiting for competitions and transport means that there is a significant amount of dead time.

This tends to bring me towards writing. I like to use the time to think, and reflect. So I will try my best to share my thoughts as I travel.

We had our first competition yesterday, with mixed results across the group, but on reflecting the competition and observing some many of the other athletes training and warming up at the competition, I got to thinking about performance and injury. An observation became relatively clear to me that I know is obvious to most, but the best athletes tend to be the ones that are consistently doing simple things well, and often. I know many people will instantly acknowledge the simplicity of this thought, but it was ever apparent at the competition.

In a recent discussion, I heard a conversation that reflected upon the difference between optimisers and maximisers. The key difference being those that want to make what they currently have optimal (often getting into the minutiae) vs those that are looking to grow and expand on what it is working. And to me this is reflected in the best athletes. The do not appear to do fancy things. They do no have overly elaborate drills, or fancy technology or even particularly sophisticated approaches to things. They tend to do the basics well and maximise the development of these basics. They do them often, and consistently grow on what works, rather than trying to get fancy and believe that minute details are the thing that will optimise to achieve an outcome. They just tend to do more high quality work. In essence they maximise on what works (amplify) and dampen what doesn’t.

Now I know there will be people reading this wanting to throw their phone or computer across the room in disagreement. But I have to say, I just don’t see athletes who overemphasise complex training, drills or skills performing at a higher level than those that take the basics, get very good at them and then maximise on the amount of what works. It also appears that they seem to be less injured than their counterparts, but I will leave that discussion for another time.