Managing paradoxes, doing one thing, proximity and the beginners mindset

sent by Nick Grantham | 21st September 2021

"The Tools for managing paradox are still undeveloped."

Kevin Kelly

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Books, research papers and conference lectures will tell you that if you take Athlete 'A' and perform training programme 'B', you'll improve physical quality 'C'. It's nice and neat, and it all makes perfect sense. But performance sport is a world of paradoxes, and as a performance practitioner, you will face situations that go against your expectations on a daily basis. For example, what do you do when the most talented athlete on the team doesn't step foot in the gym and follow your perfectly structured programme? How do you work with a player who is an MVP, but their lifestyle is, let's say, not conducive to optimal performance? What conversations do you have with the bench warmer who's not started a game all season but are the most professional athlete on the roster? If you don't have answers, you need to sharpen your management tools because how you manage paradoxes will be the key to your success.

Source: The Rise of The Superhuman by Steven Kotler

"Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do."

Steve Jobs

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I've walked into training environments and faced many problems that seemingly need to be sorted out on the first inspection. I've seen athletes who need to improve several aspects of their fitness to stand a chance of achieving their goals. The temptation is to try and 'fix' everything as quickly as possible. However, the trick is to figure out the one or two things you need to work on. What elements of performance will make the most significant impact and subsequently create a ripple effect. Don't do everything. Do one thing.

SourceThe Thought Leaders Practice by Matt Church, Peter Cook and Scott Stein

"Proximity will have a material impact on the frequency of communication."

Nick Winkleman and Darcy Norman

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How effective can an interdisciplinary team be if the environment they work in creates barriers? For example, the sports medicine team sits in one office, coaching staff sit in another room, and strength and conditioning coaches are on the gym floor all day, located at the other end of the building. Effective communication, scheduling, and organisation become challenging when team members are scattered around the training facility. Creating an effective high-performance support team requires understanding how support staff and athletes flow and interact in the training environment. If the environment is wrong, it will stifle the support programme.

Source: NSCA's Essentials of Sport Science by Duncan French and Lorena Torres Ronda

"An education can't be "hacked"; there are no short-cuts besides hacking it every single day."

Ryan Holiday

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I think it's essential to maintain a beginners mindset. People are often in a rush to box off all of their learning. They want to be done. The student can't wait to graduate; the athlete can't wait to master a new training technique; the coach is desperate to understand session design fully. This thirst for completing is probably due to our ego. We can't bear to think that we don't know it all. We don't want to entertain the idea that someone out there knows more than we do. Park your ego, find a coach, teacher or mentor and become the student. Stop rushing to the finish, instead enjoy the learning process, allow the coach to impart their knowledge and experience onto you.

Source: Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday

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