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Waiting on Perfection (of the Ninja variety)

plyometrics training principles May 12, 2011

So I was doing my zig-zag Heiden and stick tonight as part of my lateral plyo module and something clicked.  I landed like a ninja. An explosive, silent, and perfectly one legged balanced killer.  Thrilling!

My first lateral plyo post was April 6th.  At that point I was very far from being a ninja and was having trouble just sticking the landing in a lateral bound let alone landing quietly.  It only took two sessions for me to become proficient at sticking the landing.  At this point, I was tempted to move on and progress to something more difficult.  Instead, I decided that my landings were not good enough.  I was not super loud but I was still not quite enough.  I just felt somehow I was missing something.  I was right.

I can't tell you exactly what I'm doing differently.  What I can say is that my body has figured it out. I have felt this pattern before in my training.

It goes something like this:

  1. ask the body to do something
  2. you wonder if you're really doing it right (hint: if you're asking, the answer is "no!")
  3. keep asking
  4. hang on past the point when most people would say "good enough" or "this is boring let's do something else"
  5. keep asking
  6. the body says "Oh! is THIS what you want me to do?"


Becoming proficient at dead bug exercises followed this same pattern.  It was about three weeks before I even felt the right muscles doing the right things.

I also had to deal with the uncoordinated feeling when learning Olympic lifts and jumping rope.

This type of learning process can be frustrating because it is non-linear.  Learning motor skills and movement patterns is just different than learning algebra.  About a year ago on I wrote about how learning motor skills is a process that's largely beyond our conscious understanding and control.

Thankfully, I have become better at relaxing and letting the process run its course.


I believe that one of my greatest strengths as an athlete is my willingness- no, my insistence- on doing things right.  I have no tolerance for sloppy form in the weight room.  And I do not just want a low-ish release forehand; I want my knuckles in the grass. I work HARD on the details.  And when working hard doesn't work, I'm willing to wait on the details to come to me.


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