This post was originally written by Cory Kennedy for http://www.fitstoronto.com
I don’t know if I’m crazy, or if most athletic development coaches should think like me, but I always look to track and field for answers. I know that other sports have certain components that track doesn’t take into account, but track is all about developing pure athleticism so I feel there is a lot to be learned from this group of coaches and athletes. So I am going to use a track metaphor to talk about grit, commitment, and dedication. Olympic medals are sometimes decided by hundredths of a second (The Last 0.01), or centimetres in jumps and throws. This makes these hundredths of a second crucial for a sprinter.
THE LAST 0.01
In one of my favourite movies, Any Given Sunday, Al Pacino has a riveting speech about football being a game of inches. This is the exact same metaphor. Time is distance, distance is time, when talking about sprinting or sport in general.
When you really sit down and think about the value of these inches, or the last 0.01, you realize that Al Pacino was right, and they really are everywhere. Right now you are just thinking of each stride, or each change-of-direction, but it’s about more than that. It’s the habits you keep. The decisions you make on a daily basis that make up those inches. My favourite comparison for this concept is with supplementation and muscle protein synthesis. Beginners will have these grand illusions that supplements will dramatically change you, that you can feel the difference right after taking them (stimulants can do this but…). Yet the veteran athletes or lifters out there understand it’s the opposite, that the effect is subtle. They are still the ones though that won’t be caught without a post-workout shake. Why is that? If the effect is so small, why are they so fastidious about the habit? The answer is in that hundredth of a second. If you knew that your post-workout nutrition contributed a 0.01% to your performance, that may seem small, but over your 200+ training sessions a year, that’s an extra 2%. If you can find another 2% from not drinking alcohol, or maintaining tissue health, keeping regular communication with a sport medicine professional, following your training plan, eating properly, we just found 10% or more. This is the power of habit, the power of numbers, and the power of the last hundredth.
If you knew that your next sporting event would be decided by 0.01 seconds how would it affect your behaviours over the next week?