I know everybody thinks they do sensible training. What do I mean by 'sensible training'?
- Does your current or planned training, have reasoning and well thought-out planning behind it? Also, is the training reinforcing correct and efficient movement patterns? Are you training your body to be economical?
Can you answer yes to all these questions? Really and honestly?
Let me break this down a little more, with some examples: I will be using swimming examples because these are the often right in front of me and so many people are in a small area. I have been working as the Swim Trainer for Tri Team Hochrhein for a year now. All the swimmers who come regularly have got better. I work on both technique and endurance. When I go to swimming pools I often see groups and individuals swimming. Due to working as an instructor I can’t help myself looking at the way people swim and thinking of where they could improve. So often I see athletes do the strangest stuff in the water! One time I saw this group bashing up and down the pool, training really hard! I mean really hard - they swam with motivation and determination, and getting it all wrong. They were doing drills and other sets, the hand paddles were on and off. Yet one thing became clear to me very quickly was that they didn't understand or know why they were doing it at all, and it was just stuff in the plan they had to do. After a while I couldn’t take any more! I had to ask why they were doing a crazy looking drill, the answer was “this is what I was told to do”. Ok, so you were told why you should do it? “No…. We just do it”. I didn’t have a follow up question, I was little lost for words.
And herein lies the problem with so many sports. People have lost the understanding of why they do something. I have seen so many athletes (And I am the same), get into little habits that creep in and can affect the quality of your training and therefore performance. When I was bike racing I spent the early part of the season not only busting my arse training hard, I also always spent time working on my pedalling technique to make sure I set up the right muscle action right at the start of the year. Now when I get on my bike after years of not doing much my pedal action, it's a long way from where it was, yet it is still ok.
This needs to be done with all sports. There are so many people out there willing to teach (yes, not all instructors or trainers are equal) so try and get some help. I look at swimmers so much at the moment and while, at the beginning of the new season, everyone wants to swim fast this is the time to focus on technique. Get technique better and it will pay off in the long run!