If you’re in the business of competitive athletics, physique fitness, or movement related performance you’re often looking for that “extra ” edge in physical ability. “Extra” is the qualifier that athletes, trainers and those of us interested in improving athletic potential often use in front of the work or action we believe will get us to this fleeting destination. In the competitive environment of professional football “extra””is regularly dispelled as the best strategy for making needed performance gains. Ubiquitous in its use and constantly and casually strung next to the various paths for performance success, the word “extra” seems more like a requirement than an option at the professional level.
“ Hey Dan, I need some “extra’ footwork drills after practice today so i can be better at my position. or “Dan is there any extra nutrition advice you might have that can help me to recover.” “Dan, what’s some extra work i can do to be better.”
It seems that athletes recognize the value of “extra” as an essential piece for reaching excellence and the same can be said of coaches who oversee these athletes. Jimmy Johnson, popular and successful American football broadcaster, player, coach, and executive once said “the difference between the ordinary and the extraordinary is the little extra.”
Hence, it’s no surprise that we want to spend more time performing a greater amount of the actions we believe to be integral to our goal or performance success (as an athlete) or that of our athletes (As a coach). For coaches and athletes who’s livelihood and careers rest on the ability of one to run, jump, and change direction, “extra” work can seem like commission work for their career.
The approach to this work often center’s on the “ more is better” ideology. It’s a sentiment that has been expressed since the 14th century and suggests that when people value something they believe more is better than less. Through these lens, one might believe that the majority of work in sports performance preparation should be spent on physical training. However the reality is that physical training can sometimes denote a smaller piece of the successful sport preparation pie when compared to the piece formed through our vision, thoughts and program expectations.
Envision a sports performance preparation pie that includes a variety of pieces that are intended to aid in sport performance success. How much of your pie is devoted to factors such as physical preparation, recovery, nutrition, study, rest. The size of pie devoted to improving physical capacity may be relatively lower than our expectations. Instead, success may require that we center a greater portion of our efforts and time on performance determining factors such as film study, skill related actives, and recovery factors such as pain management and the reestablishment of lost mobility.
Extra work is the relative additions we make to those pieces of athletic success pie. More can be better but it usually comes at a cost. Our role as trainers is to be cost effective. If were adding to one piece we must acknowledge that were taking away from another. In today’s highly competitive and physical climate, extra work and cost effective strategies for athletic success might come through our efforts in mitigating the challenges that athletes often struggle with through the course of a season. These obstacles include pain management, the degradation of tissue quality and reclaiming lost mobility. Strategies which attack these challenges in the form of extra work can be fundamental to improving physical capacity but also improving the efficiency of the athlete. These simple strategies can be the extra work that turns ordinary athletes into extraordinary performers.