“The wisest, knew the secret of all life. That struggle and inequality are present even in beauty.”
The drive toward human performance is a value of CFO because it makes athletes of us all. Everyone’s an athlete regardless of ability. An athlete is someone who is driven toward human performance, which is simply a spectrum of what our body is capable of. We might not perceive ourselves to be this way, but once we find the athlete in us, we have witnessed people of all ability types start to realize some amazing things about themselves. We can all be athletes, but it’s beneficial for us to realize the progression and what it means to train like an athlete versus someone who just exercises.
Athletes of all sports go through natural phases as they progress.
A beginner is an athlete learning new things, they are met with first wave adaptation. It is rare for a beginner to not develop quickly because human beings are designed to learn new things.
Some people relish in this phase simply because they love the learning process, and sure enough, these are the people that accelerate through this phase most quickly. The beginner is a very fun stage once we are past the point of the intimidation of learning something new.
This is a tempermental phase, athletes can spend a lot of time here. This is usually where we experience our first plateaus and we start to reflect on what we are learning, the first time we plateau can be frustrating but it is a natural progression in learning and very important. This situation becomes our best teacher if we can stand back and reflect on our training and practice objectively. Our reflection, becomes an actionable step forwards. After we’ve been through the beginner’s learning curve and our performance progression starts to level out there is a massive mental response from an athlete here; some athletes experience frustration, others blame external factors, which are all very natural emotions and reactions as long as we face them and use them to progress forwards they can be beneficial. We never like to see athletes get to a point of acceptance, this is a progression killer, accepting where we are at is likened to giving up and many athletes become stuck in human performance purgatory because of this. Very few athletes respond to the intermediate stage plateau with a beginner mentality, but ironically this is the mentality needed in order to progress to the next stage of development. The continual pursuit of learning.
A challenging phase to get to, the athletes we see in this stage understand their sport and have a certain level of confidence in their progress, even though this is the stage where progress is slowest. We hear people talk about a process all the time, this is the stage where that process will actually make or break an athlete, before this it’s all just hard work, dedication, and making sure we stick to our process. Now, athletes have to fully be aware of themselves, their sport, and the differences in their adaptations. What the process is made up of actually starts to matter in this stage. The Advanced athlete can go through similar reactions and emotions as the intermediate but very few people reach this level and when we have learned to develop at an advanced rate we have most likely learned to react effectively to the realities of training. Of the few athletes who make it this far in their development, even fewer will ever make it past here.
This level is the best in the world, very few people can make claim to being an Elite level athlete. This factors in talent and perseverance. The athletes at this level benefit from squeezing blood from a stone: programing, the coaching, the recovery methods all need to be dialed up to 10. What we have observed from the athletes at this stage is a very cool phenomenon, they have come full circle back to beginner because they are doing things that have never been done before, they are pioneers, making these athletes beginners of a different kind.
We have just taken a glimpse at athletic progression, not once did we mention ability level, this concept applies for anyone in any sport as a way to keep ourselves pointed in the right direction to reach our goals more effectively.
The irony in the progression is that we are all attempting to level up, but what we might not realize is that most of the fun and progression happens all in the beginner stage when we are open to learning. As we progress and learn more about ourselves and our sport, it is natural to challenge for newer and better learning.
As a coach I welcome this because that’s when I learn the most. What I have seen from a beginner right through to an elite level athlete, is that with an immense craving for learning from the athlete and the coach is what aides progression. There is no sport that has figured out every little detail, there are always alternative programs, methods, and process. The answer that most athletes search for lies in the process of figuring all this out not in actually figuring it out.
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