In our pursuit of athletic potential and skill mastery we often over look the little things that will make us great. These fundamentals, these assistance moves, these small lifestyle or fitness changes that will ultimately lead us to mastery or greatness in our sport or competition.
The bodybuilder who neglects a small body part, the weightlifter who trains for power without speed, the athlete who has the amazing skills but no focus on fitness and mobility to use those skills to their full potential.
You need to build your pyramid properly.
Imagine if you will an imaginary pyramid, how high is the pyramid? Mathematically speaking? Well mathematically speaking a pyramid is only as tall as its base. Pyramid mentality therefore makes us consider how to push that peak, our potential, higher by focusing on building as strong and as wide a base as possible.
This means looking at where you want to get to and establishing three or four things that will all help push your pyramid higher. Think in 3D a pyramid has 3-4 triangular sides and they accumulate to build the finished great pyramid.
Try to identify things in these bands that could help you get better:
1. Physical body – how your body is physically able to perform the necessary task
2. Skill set – your technically ability to perform the tasks and needs of your sport or practice
3. Nutrition – are you furling your efforts and giving yourself every opportunity to grow, stay healthy and perform at your best
4. Recovery – are you serious about your recovery methods and resting when you need to.
Build your base:
Once you have examined all four areas you next need to begin to look at the base. Think of this as a two step process, first you have examined the sides to see if any weak spots hold you back or if simply one or more sides are being ignored altogether. Then you look at each side individually and build its base.
Are you strong enough in all areas? Could having more core strength help? Are you fit or fast enough? Are you big enough? Are you mobile enough? Are you dominant in one area? Do you have an imbalance of strength between muscles, arms, legs?
Changes here often come with programme design, choosing to do more mobiltiy work in warm ups. Adding speed sessions, or changing exercise for a while to build up weak points.
Are you working on technique? Do you practice your weak points? Particular lifts? Particular shots or combos? Do you need to work on hand eye co ordination? Breathing? Do you need to look at decision making and foot work?
Changes here again can come with programming, but often just require more hours of practice, or searching out new coaches or training partners who are better or more knowledgeable than you to help you spot weak points in your game or craft.
Are you eating enough calories? Enough protein? Are you getting good quality food? Are you eating foods that don’t agree with you? Are you eating to perform as recover? Are you getting enough vitamins and minerals? Enough water?
Changes here can be small, like adjusting calorie or macro nutrient intake, or large involving more of a lifestyle change to allow your to eat to perform at your best, maybe cutting out some comfort foods, or adding an extra meal.
Are you testing enough? Are you stretching? Are you foam rolling? Massage? Ice bath? Do you get enough sleep? How do you feel?
Changes in this pyramid are all done in your own time, sleep is hard to crack, especially if you work tough shift hours or have a family. But the choice to do mobility work, foam roll or massage are all just choice and one that you can add in at home, even if it means foam rolling and stretching before bed or while watching that episode of Friends or sports highlights.
This is a long process at times but it can lead to huge results in progress and performance. For example a tennis player who does a lot of skill work and physical training but doesn’t pay attention to nutrition or recovery will soon find they hit a wall when their body tires or can’t continue to push on with training.
Or the MMA athlete who works on technique but not fitness won’t make it past round 1 in the fight.
Or even the single mum looking to lose weight might find her results liking because she isn’t sleeping well or eating enough to fuel her workouts and busy days and as a result that stubborn body fat just won’t budge.
.Just take it a step at a time. Identify the latest area for improvement first and fix that, then move on to the next and so on. Working on one problem a month or one area a week will make you a vastly improved athlete by years end.
We all could add something to our pyramid, we just have to take the time to look