As is the case with everything in life, some people do things right and the huge majority don’t.
Sport is no different. Some athletes have a solid foundation in place from which to perform at their best. Others have a very poor foundation or worse, still, none at all. On top of this weak or absent foundation they pile a ton of volume, intensity and stressors (such as sleep deprivation, a lack of nourishment, dehydration, etc.)
This is especially true with amateur athletes as opposed to the majority of professional athletes who take having a strong foundation as a given. They tend to have the attitude sure I’ll just do (insert your sport here) and that’ll be fine.
Take an amateur endurance athlete such as a marathon runner or a triathlete training for an ironman event. I’ve seen so many people put in huge amounts of training hours (which is hugely demanding on the body when it’s not being properly taken care of) on top of a diet consisting of chips and burgers and can’t even touch their toes or do 1 quality push up.
He’s definitely not……………….
A professional athlete wouldn’t (at least they shouldn’t) think that’s ok. Yet most (not all) amateurs do.
Faced with all this their body responds WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING TO ME!!!!!
Another example of going about things the wrong way is an athlete who’s strength and conditioning program doesn’t support his actual sport.
Take G.A.A. as an example. We gets lots of G.A.A. athletes who come in with the goal of getting huge. When we review what they’ve been doing it’s usually a bodybuilding style program. Body building is great for body builders but not so much for G.A.A.
An athlete might need to put on some size but it needs to translate into a more powerful and resilient athlete. This is an amateur mistake of looking to improve your sport by doing something that isn’t actually going to support or improve it. As the saying goes, guys who follow this approach will look like Tarzan but play like Jane.
I’m sure you can think of many other amateur mistakes that you or others you know make.
So how can you get better? Start acting like a professional. Research your sport, it’s requirements and the qualities that support it.
You need to make a shift in your mindset to go from an amateur to a professional. We had a client recently who we told to reduce his running volume for a few months and to focus on bringing up the other areas that were holding him back- nutrition, strength, basic movement quality, etc. He reduced his running by about 90% and told me it was one of the best decisions he had made for his running.
He’s back running and feeling better than ever because he now has a better foundation from which to run and his body can handle the stressors a lot more. Ignoring my advice would have been the amateur thing to do and he would have been spinning his wheels still.
On top of performing better he is also now a lot healthier.
Take home message- If you’re serious about your sport (and longterm health) give yourself the best possible opportunity to perform optimally and start acting like a professional athlete with regard to how you recover, warm up, sleep, strength train, eat, etc.
Do this for a few months and gradually build new habits and strategies into your routine and you’ll soon be leaving the amateurs behind.