I started training in the fight sports as a young child, starting in boxing and wrestling before the age of 10. For years I was fascinated by the better athletes who always seemed to be stronger, and faster. The older athletes had the ability to be in the right place at the right time. It was like magic to the younger athletes. As I grew in experience I realized that while they might be faster, and stronger usually the older athletes were simply “sooner”. In other words they were able to get into better position before, (or sooner), we could react because they were technically superior to their lesser skilled and experienced opponent. Those lessons didn’t quite gel with me at that young age. I wrongfully assumed that if I just became stronger, and faster then I would perform better on the mat, in the ring, or on the street.
This set me off on a mission to become as strong, fast, and agile as possible. While this was not a complete waste of time, it did slow my technical growth. Instead of diving deep into the nuances of technique, understanding the role of posture, and position, I spent a disproportionate amount of time on getting stronger, and faster. If I couldn’t get something to work, I would depend upon the athleticism I was building in my S&C sessions to make it work despite any technical deficiencies. If this is you? Stop now. Don’t continue down this path. Yes, you will experience success pursuing performance in this manner as this is a good approach however, you will also reach a point of diminishing returns because this is not the best approach. A better approach would be to make technical work the bulk of your practice. The best approach would be an equal balance of all the components necessary to achieve your highest performance level. For most folks best isn’t always possible due to myriad reasons however, better is within reach.
A focus on developing bombproof technique is the key to reaching our potential in this endeavor. Injuries will slow down our strength and conditioning progress. We will run into athletes that are stronger, faster, and more agile, it’s just the nature of the game. However, if we focus on understanding position and posture we will create pressure on our opponent which will create possibilities that wouldn’t be available if we had only focused on strength, and speed. Understanding position and posture shuts down the stronger, faster but less technical opponent. Investing serious time digging deep into the nuances of position and posture to create pressure will give us a much greater return on investment.