Written by Scott Grondin
“Failure is the key to success; each mistake teaches us something.”
Every now and then I look back on my past training logs, training programs, and exercise prescriptions and wonder what was I thinking? It’s amazing to see the process from which we have started and the mistakes that I have made not only in my own training but in the training of others. Making mistakes is part of the learning process, the key lies in the improvement from those mistakes and the adjustment made each time. It is hard to narrow down just one mistake or, as I prefer to say, “learning experience” that I’ve had, but I’ll pick the most common one I see with trainers today and that is advancing athletes too quickly – improper progression
I am just as guilty as any other trainer, but over time I have personally seen the difference in properly progressing an athlete. In my early training years, I believed that in order to build a faster athlete I needed them to do advanced drills that other elite level athletes were doing. I would prescribe specific drills/ exercises and focused on the speed at which we could do them instead of the quality and details in which they performed them. Over the long run the athletes would get faster, but only in small increments without ever correcting the underlying issues that are inhibiting them.
Recently I spent my first 5 sessions with an athlete completely on foot placement, foot stabilization, and foot striking in that order. At the end of those 5 sessions, we had completely changed the way that athlete struck the ground each time they made contact with it. This correction equated to increase speed and power almost instantly. In my earlier years of training, I would have gone right to more advanced drills and attempted to correct the issue in those drills. Over time the corrections would have been made but many times it would take 3-6 months before I would see the effect the same as I did in just those 5 weeks of focused and strategic progressions.
The above example is just one of the many “learning experiences” I could have written about. Each time we make a mistake that we are able to correct, learn, and improve upon is a step in the right direction. These experiences allow us to continually grow and build as trainers. Remember learning is a continual process that should never end.
Focusing on the way an athlete’s foot is positioned is key. Improper foot positioning can equate to inches of height or distance on every strike of the ground. Over the course of a 40yd dash, this tiny detail equates to tenths of seconds off their time.