“Hey Coach! If I wanted to compete when do I need to start getting ready?”
“Start getting ready?”
Former Army Ranger, Tim Kennedy, is well known for his time in the UFC as well as several of his credos; one of which is “Be Hard To Kill.” Having the mental and physical toughness to perform at your maximum potential at any moment. Not being reliant on others for your success or using others as an excuse for failure. It’s a conscious decision that your life and wellbeing are solely in your control. It is a constant state of readiness.
This idea of readiness is lost on most people. We like finite start and end points; such specific dimensions help us focus, making the task at hand more manageable because it fits neatly in a box. To do something difficult daily, as a way of life, takes a fair amount of discipline. Something most people do not possess. Training and eating well everyday presents a great challenge. An 8 week boot camp is more palatable.
The concept of a “fight camp” is one I find often misunderstood and misused. Competition coming up on date X so I’ll start training hard on date Y. Start training hard. Shake my head. As if to say everything prior is a waste of time. It’s equivalent to cramming for an exam the night before after having slacked off all semester. You get a ready as you can but you’re not fully prepared; you’re not ready.
The 6 weeks prior to your competition is not the time to “start training.” It’s not a time to start getting into shape or start honing your skills. It’s a time to get ready and game plan for that specific opponent. Specific skills and technique that can exploit holes and weaknesses are emphasized. Practices are no longer generic but explicit toward the game plan. Competitors that use camp to begin the process oft times do not properly peak or, perhaps worse, over train due to cramming too much in a short time frame. Strength and conditioning is something that is year-round as part of your constant state of readiness with peaking and tapering for the competition.
“It takes a lot of unspectacular preparation to have spectacular results in both business and football.” -Roger Staubach
All of this cannot be said without coupling the idea of deliberate practice; a focused and concentrated effort on developing a specific skill set. Year-round practice of the trade, countless repetition of the basics, and growth of new skills allows the fight camp to be truly what it is supposed to be, specific to the competition. I see so many competitors wait to start preparing. Fight camp then becomes a scramble, wasting precious time working to get in shape and basic movements back up to speed while not game planning for the opponent at hand. Add in a handful of missed practices and now we’re walking into the event not fully prepared.
This is no different in our professional or corporate careers. Do you spend a lifetime accumulating education, experience and wisdom so you are ready for that career defining opportunity or do you try to cram a liftetime’s worth into the week prior to the interview? Many professional careers are plagued by wallowing in the day to day drudgery of the job rather than maneuver and position for better things. True, work needs to be done. Part of that work is the daily effort to improve. Constantly improving your ability so that when a career defining opportunity presents itself you are capable of winning the moment. We do this by learning new things, honing existing talents, and exploring different applications.
Our United States military thankfully doesn’t wait until a conflict ignites before preparing for war. It is in a constant state of readiness; perpetually training and developing tactics, techniques, and procedures through rehearsal of various situations and what if scenarios. Once game time rolls around it’s a matter of planning for the specific mission. The 90% solution is always ready to go.
“Success depends upon previous preparation, and without such preparation there is sure to be failure.” –Confucius
The point here is if you are waiting for a starting point you are already behind. Time is the one thing we cannot get back. A missed practice can never be made up. Those reps and rounds are lost forever. No amount of work and effort during an arbitrary period we call fight camp can make up for weeks and months of dormancy and less than deliberate practice. Don’t Wait, Be Ready!
“Hey Coach! I’ve been training everyday. You think I’m ready to compete?”
“I’ve been waiting for you to ask!”
Everyday Is Training Day – Reap What You Sow