Why do we prepare and practice?
There is nothing more important in a well-developed process than a practice or training plan. Unfortunately, in my opinion, when most competitors are in control of their own practice or training, they use it to fix and correct. They do that with the idea that if they can simply correct the problems that plagued them in the last competition or competitions, they’ll find success. That’s flawed thinking, which often originates from a defeated mindset and lacks a strong philosophy and purpose.
When competitors fail to lock into a purposeful plan, they assume that their success and successful mindset have already been determined, and that if they just do what they’ve been trying to do, but better, they’ll be successful. In other words, success is about getting all of the pieces to line up together.
Furthermore, a lack of a definitive process assumes that the conditions for competition stay the same and the ability of all of the competitors also stays the same. Too many athletes think that fixing one problem fixes the model of performance, and that’s just wrong.
The mindset of Fixing is different than the mindset of Mastery. I want my athletes to compete and train to mastery, so when they walk into the unknown nature of competition, they can do so safe in the knowledge that they’ll be able to adjust and create success. Training to fix is result- avoidance – it’s the fear that your problem has something to do with your ability, and that it thus must be fixed. As I have always said, nothing successful arises out of a mentality of fixing.
Why do we talk about and invest so much in the process? The best of the best, athletes from across the board – Olympians, fighters, golfers, and national championship coaches – understand that the pathway is always more important than the destination, but it’s through the pathway that the desired destination becomes reality. When there is stress in sport, the process shows us where to invest our energy.
Here Are The 6 Reasons Why “The Process” Is So Important:
1. The process is determined prior to starting, and can be adjusted but not changed. It’s developed with the purpose of succeeding, so the psychological investment into the plan is highest at the onset. The hard thing is to stick with it when time has passed, but to also understand that adjustments will have to be made. That’s normal.
2. It’s created based on strengths – and working on those strengths – to improve. Great teams and processes are always built around strengths. It makes no sense for a plan to be built to correct weaknesses and simply ignore the strengths. Businesses would never follow this model. In fact, large corporations eliminate underperforming divisions and recruit investors on their strengths.
3. Trusting in the process during competition provides the ability to overcome weaknesses. When the pressure of competition mounts, the plan and process sustain, not fold.
4. Great processes incorporate every facet of the organization, not just the ones in the spotlight. The best work happens behind the scenes in activities that provide support for the overall mission. Years ago, I worked with a college basketball team that knew they were going to struggle with physical match-ups, but also knew that they could exploit other teams by trusting their system of video review and analysis. While not a direct, measurable aspect of the team’s performance, this video system – developed by a young graduate student – won the players over, and through their trust, was able to give the team a competitive advantage that led the team to a successful season. Their process was unique, but they trusted it.
5. The process requires unrelenting commitment, and most players don’t have the fortitude to stick with it. We live and compete in a world of shortened attention spans, and it’s often hard for young men and women to hold on for months before they see results. The younger the athlete, the shorter the attention span, so it’s important that athletes and coaches resist any urge to abandon their process.
6. It provides athletes with a cause bigger than themselves. When they buy into a process, they buy into a perceived advantage to succeed.
The hardest thing for an athlete to do is to stay patient with the process in the face of so many distractions and disappointments. Sacrifice and elite focus are vital to success. Knowing how success arises, where success arises from, and building a plan to achieve success defines the differences between those who are successful and those who are not.
If you think about the major Division I college football programs, there are more similarities than differences between the successful and unsuccessful programs. Every program has better facilities than they did twenty years ago, and the science of coaching elite athletes has improved so dramatically that essentially every coach has better coaching tools than their predecessors. Therefore, the factor that differentiates successful programs the most is the program’s vision and the unrelenting commitment by the program to the factors that contribute to the successful implementation and execution of the plan to win. Those who consistently win simply do it better than everyone else. There’s no magic – it’s just sacrifice, effort, and a mindset on the part of everyone in the program to just get it done.
So How Do You Develop A Plan & Process For Lasting Success?
The six lessons above set a great foundation and are pillars of strength in our overall performance. For us to have any chance of lasting success our process and plan must be strictly adhered to no matter the amount of adversity or obstacles we face.
“But Doc, how to I develop my process? Where do I start?”
That is a great question – one I get a lot in my office. I answer that with a question of my own, and then shift to starting with the end goal in mind:
What if I told you that you only get one shot in competition – that winning and losing all comes down to a simple choice?
That choice is whether to embrace the high-intensity, high-pressure moments or continue to be stuck in the same patterns of average. All competitors have defining moments. These defining moments are what our careers are measured by and shape the life of an athlete, team, or organization.
The only problem is we can’t predict the future to know when these moments are going to happen! We must be prepared to meet each moment with the intent to not only win it, but to DOMINATE it!
That’s where the plan and process come in, and I can help you with that…