Monday, April 30, 2012

Kicking Field Goals

My friend, John Brookfield, told me once in a conversation, "Well, Tim, if you want to be a field goal kicker, you need to practice kicking field goals." John told me this as we were discussing training methodologies and modalities. There is a notion in the fitness industry that if you are fit, that is REALLY in shape, you will be good at any physical endeavor. This isn't really a true notion, however. 

Yes, exercise can make you fit. But, exercise alone can only make you proficient in exercise. That is, if you really just want to be good at exercise, well, then exercise. But, if you want to be really good at climbing trees, maybe you should practice climbing trees. 

I'll be the first one to tell anyone: I believe that humans were made to be able to conquer anything. We are wonderfully designed. And, if we own all of our movement patterns, we should pretty much be able to do anything we want to physically. However, there is a difference in being able to do something and being able to do something well. Just because I can crawl backwards for a quarter of a mile doesn't mean I could kick field goals well. It may indicate I have the strength to kick field goals, but really it only means I am good at crawling backwards. 

If you can perform insane interval combinations for 15 minutes, it would indicate that you may be proficient at performing intervals. It really does not indicate how well you climb trees. 

If you want to be good at a particular skill, you should practice that skill. I recently ran a 5K mud run. I practiced obstacle-type stuff for my training. I only performed "courtesy runs" a couple of times a week. Want to guess what my limiting factor was for the mud run? Yes, running. I was so thankful to run up to obstacles so that I could have a break from running. Don't get me wrong, because of the way I train, I am fit. My time was very decent. However, I did not respect running enough to "practice" it for periods longer that 1 1/2 miles. So, the skill of running for 3 miles or longer was not owned by me. Yes, I ran the 3 miles, but I didn't run it well. And yes, running a 5k is a skill, it does not have to be an issue of fitness. If you consider that I can easily spider-man crawl for well over 30 minutes - I have strength and endurance. However, running for 24 minutes makes me want to crawl! Maybe this says more about my love, or lack of love, for running than anything.

Anyway, all I am saying is that exercise is great. But if you truly want to be good at something other than exercise, you need to spend time practicing whatever that is. Whether it is kicking field goals, running 5Ks, or climbing trees. We get proficient at the things we do. 

Have a great week!

Yesterday for training, I took a frisbee out to the park and threw it. Then, I would try to run fast enough to chase it down and catch it. If you've never done this, and you don't have many friends, this is a great way to practice sprints!

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