Processes for Strength, Part 1(Training Philosophy) - Coach Alex
"If you aren't assessing you're guessing"
You might be wondering why any website based upon improving physical performance and wellbeing would have a blogs leading image set to a deceased Dr. of Psychology, whom is much better known as a philosopher.
Training for performance, which could be described as "anything which progresses an individual towards a set goal", has often been married to machismo, tradition, and, in a wonderful dichotomy, at the same time hyper-ridged adherence to science depending who you talk to.
Critical Rationalism, which is currently inextricably linked with Popper, is the scientific methods equivalent of natural selection.
In his work "All life is problem solving" Popper suggests:
PS1 TT1 EE1 PS2 ............
Where PS1 is the first problem to solve, TT1, are (multiple) theories of how to solve problem one, EE is error elimination, PS2, is the following problem to solve and the cycle restarts.
Problem solving, and there being theories to solve any problem, is the norm. Having the outlook that every theory MUST be subject to a rigorous, systemic, and thorough attempt at falsification (falsification not being that it is "false", rather that there must be the ability to disprove the theory). Rigorous testing of a theory, however, does not grant said theory any kind of amnesty from being refuted or disputed down the line. If a theory "survives" the process of elimination it becomes a better fit to be a solution to P1. It does not become true.
I'll say it again for emphasis:
"Just because a theory survives a round, or even many rounds, of error elimination it does not become true. It just becomes a better fit for that specific problem."
If a theory continues to be the best (or simplest) fit, then is should stay remain the preferential theory until it fails in error elimination.
This process/statement then ties in with the non-justificationism idea that no theory can, or even needs be, justified. Ergo, lack of justification is not a reason for doubt. That being, doubt should be present regardless of if there is reason to doubt. The end of this train of thought being that you need not worry about proving or disproving a theory merely focus on eliminating as many errors in the theory as possible.
This "ever-critical" philosophy is easily translatable into a programming context and, I believe, is an element as crucial, if not more so, than the constant assessment and reassessment protocols.
Set the scene:
If you come to me looking for the best way to excel physically, we must be rigorously critical of the current programming meta. Not because the current convention is "wrong", it just does not matter. To find the best way forward for you the goal must be to find and eliminate things that do not move you forward
That means even if everyone else is doing, for the sake of argument, 2(15) for everything (that is 2 sets of 15 repetitions) and it is going great. There is nothing there which inherently means it will work for you. All it means is proposing the "most fit" theory and working, over time, to eliminate the weaknesses from it.
When first on-boarding an athlete to our system there is an in-depth assessment process. Whilst it is in no way perfect, it does provide a platform to work and refine from.
Using concepts taken from the DMAIC model, any approach to making improvements in a system (an athlete is just an extraordinarily complex system) vectored towards a specific goal means defining said goal, where the athlete currently stands, and how to bridge the gap between these places. This is the essence of every athletic development system.
What initial information we collect dictates the resolution of the picture we build of you as an athlete. The better resolution (the higher the granularity), the better map we will be able to create to reach your goals. Of course, for the best result the goal must have a matching level of resolution to the assessment.
In the DMAIC process the initial step is Defining the needs of:
- The Athlete
- The Sport
- The Position/Level
We’ll start looking into this over the assessment process to collect this information in the next few instalments. From there we’ll talk about how to construct a process that you can start adjusting from to create something that really works and just gets better over time.