Daily Dose of Coach #283: How Athletes Really Improve

The goal of most young athletes who start training with me have the intentions of getting stronger, faster, quicker and more powerful. But, there thought process doesn't usually start out as, " I'm here to improve these different elements as skills." They're blending everything in their mind as just a workout.

Most of the time it's because a workout is what they were accustomed to. And by a workout, I mean a group of exercises put together with either no intent or blind hopes of improving athletic qualities. I've found a lot of young athletes can "workout" but don't understand what it's like to train with intent.

To improve any skill you must work with intent, focus and attempt to master through correct repetitions. Steph Curry did not just to shoot a basketball with 6 foot 10 guys in his face, off the dribble. He started breaking down the skill of shooting at a young age and worked on all facets for years and years with tens of thousands of correct repetitions. He worked with intent.

Olympic Champion speed coach, Charlie Francis said, "Correct technique is the necessary prerequisite for an athlete to begin to run well and for optimum development to occur. The neural motor patterns of correct technique must be wired in place at as young age as possible."

Essentially, skill training is wiring and re-wiring the nervous system to produce an act or produce an action in response to some outside stimulus. But to improve skills to their highest levels, they must be done with engagement, focus, and concentration.

Don't think of your next workout as just a workout. Do everything with the motive of improvement. If you are working on skills in your warm-up, don't half-ass through it. Take your time to learn and develop in slow and controlled environments. Have a mastery mindset rather than a "just get through this mindset." Only count perfect repetitions. And if you can't perfect a specific movement break it down and improve the step before.

Athletes improve not just because they show up to workout. It's because they show up with the mindset of developing. That doesn't change in the weight room or their athletic development program.