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Are you training to improve or just working hard?

Many trainers and coaches concentrate on how hard they make their practices or training sessions. Trainers concentrate on “working hard.” But, what does that mean? How is it measured? Is it effective?

Vern Gambetta wrote on his blog:

Ask yourself is what you are doing just work or is it training? Work is just activity, a lot of nice to do exercises with no central purpose or connection. Training on the other hand is focused, composed of need to do activities in pursuit of a specific objective. Above all training is mindful, it demands concentration not just effort.

I conducted a workout several years ago on one end of the court and another trainer worked on the other end. After the workout, the other trainer told me that parents liked his workouts because they knew their kid worked hard. I told him that I hoped that parents sent their kids to my workouts because they knew their kid would get better.

His “hard” workouts were unsafe and lacked training knowledge. He had kids jump onto bleachers in the middle of the court with nothing holding the bleachers in place. He said he was improving the players’ speed with plyometrics which he did at the conclusion of a 2-hour workout. He worked hard, and he’s good with kids, but we simply had a different focus and approach. I wanted improvement; he wanted sweat.

On Ray Lokar’s blog, he changed the old mantra (somewhere, someone is practicing…), which focuses simply on time and work to one focused on quality of effort, which includes rest and training smart:

Somewhere, someone is resting and recovering. That will revitalize them to the point when they take the court again, they will work harder, longer, and with more focus. This periodization of training leads to a more productive practice regimen. And when and you meet them in competition, all other things being equal, you will lose!

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