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Where Is the 'Performance' In Performance? October 14 2013, 0 Comments

The following article was written by Darren Roberts from Peak Performance Fitness, an award winning elite sports consultancy working with the most challenging, inspiring, innovative, athletes, teams and brands in the world today including Red Bull UK High Peformance Programme athletes the Athertons and Danny MacAskill.

I’m often asked what training an athlete should and shouldn’t do. Which exercises are best for certain sports or to help improve performance. The thing is, I’m not sure what ‘performance’ means anymore, ironic as I’m supposed to be a high performance manager. A fitness or S&C coach (not sure what the difference is there either) will try and ‘improve’ performance by manipulating adaptations to muscles and energy systems. We make the athlete fitter and stronger through constructing pretty undulating periodised training plans with micro and macro cycles, all coloured coded and everything. By getting the athlete to follow these plans, they follow the undulating wave upwards – riding the supercompensations. As coaches we sit back and marvel at our work as the athlete gets fitter and stronger which is making them a ‘better’ athlete, it’s improving their ‘performance’ isn’t it? Maybe not.


Metaphorically we train athletes today based on information we found out last week, when we really need to be preparing them for tomorrow. Preparing athletes for competition, to ‘perform’ in front of a crowd – with everything and anything ‘riding’ on the performance isn’t something that is achieved through simply increasing 3 rep max on deadlift. An SRM crank isn’t going to help with the split second instinctual reaction an athlete can make at a given moment which may decide whether they’re world champion or not. I’m not talking about sports psychology, or NLP – but a rounded approach which acknowledges the ‘performance’ in the performance, in a theatrical sense.

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It’s not just about ‘positive self talk’ from a psychological view, or how effectively the muscles can produce and maintain strength, power and endurance, how efficiently the cardio vascular system can transport oxygen to the muscles. It’s putting on a show, rising to the occasion, literally ‘performing’ in front of a crowd with very real consequences to both failure and success, which are also public. When does an athlete stop being a collection of data points, key performance indicators and energy systems to be manipulated and become a person? If coaching is as much an art as it is a science can’t the same be said for athletes? We see artists as creative people, creating something from nothing. Isn’t this what athletes do? Aren’t they creative? Isn’t that creativity and emotional expression key to their performance?

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I was at the NIke Performance Summit recently, and humbled to be invited to it again. A question was posed. In percentage terms, how much is that ‘moment’ that deciding moment when a game turns, a decision by an athlete which turns events – is down to the mental x factor, creativity whatever you want to call it?’. 150 of the world’s top practitioners generally agreed it was 60%+. Now that’s an arbitrary number, but the point is we all agreed it was a significant portion of the deciding factor in a competitive environment, in front of a crowd – but does that play a significant part of our preparation? No.

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There’s a lot more to high performance than physiological and psychological measures. What can be learned from other people that have to perform at a high level, such as special forces? They don’t know what they’re going to do, or where, with life threatening consequences but still manage. In sport we know when the races are, how long they are and who else is going to be there – in fact there isn’t anything we don’t know about the challenge the athlete will face (apart from possibly weather), so what’s the problem?

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Are we making it too complicated for ourselves? Possibly, but the next frontier in athlete performance is not exponentially more complicated ways to gather data to manipulate muscles. The next frontier is in creativity, artistry – exploring and understanding the art of performance. So the key message, is get yourself signed up to your local amateur dramatics society and watch your race times fall!

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If you're interested in finding out how Darren and Peak Performance Fitness can help you on your road to recovery, or to achieve your performance goals, you can find them at: www.peakperformancefitness.org

 

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Broken Riders Well & Truly Launched! July 10 2013, 0 Comments

Wow! What an amazing weekend we just had at Brighton's Paddle Round The Pier event! Everything about the two days went really well. The stand looked awesome - a big thank you to Surf & Turf and Face Creative for supplying everything on time and looking so good. The weather was incredible, and over 60,000 people attended the event, raising thousands of pounds for the RNLI.

The Broken Riders crew on the stand did an incredible job in the searing heat, handing out almost 500 promotional leaflets (thanks to Genie Design & Print for getting them printed in record time), and putting stickers on almost every bike and board that came past the Broken Riders stand! We also sold a few t-shirts too...

We met some great people over the weekend, and some of the other brands there were really helpful and gave me lots of useful tips and advice. A big shout out to Bamboo Bay and Retrosexual Clothing in particular - thanks guys. Anyone looking for surf inspired clothing should check them out (links at the bottom of this post).

So the Broken Riders brand is well and truly out there in the public domain. I still can't believe it's true, but I felt really proud for myself and everyone else involved when I saw the stand dressed and ready to go on the Saturday morning. The event wouldn't have been possible without the following people, to whom I'd like to say a big thank you: Janine, Nige, Zeina, Tom, Lisa, Fiona, Pippa, Giles, Marc, Nina and Jez.

Our next event will be the Brighton Big Dog mountain bike race, organised by the guys at Morvélo. It takes place on 10th August at Stanmer Park, Brighton. Hope to see you all there.

Cheers!

Tom


First Blog Post! May 10 2013, 5 Comments

Hi, and welcome to the Broken Riders blog. This blog will probably consist of my ramblings and a few photos with hopefully a few laughs along the way!

At the moment we're busy getting ready for our launch at Brighton's Paddle Round The Pier event. Billed as 'The world’s biggest FREE beach and water sports festival' and with the full backing of Brighton & Hove Council, visitors to Paddle Round The Pier can experience surfing, stand up paddle boarding, bmx, kayaking, skating, windsurfing and free running,land paddling, kitesurfing and even freestyle mountain biking. takes place on Hove seafront on 6th & 7th July. Broken Riders will have a stall within the traders' market and it should prove to be an amazing weekend.

 

Why not come on down, experience the atmosphere and maybe even treat yourself to a Broken Riders t-shirt or two?!