Mastering Performance in a Sea of Change

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Logan Gelbrich

Born in Santa Monica, Logan feels right at home coaching at DEUCE Gym. With a background in collegiate (University of San Diego) and professional (San Diego Padres) baseball, Logan is used to high performance, heavy workloads, and accountability. Forever a “student of the game,” Logan is always looking to strengthen and question his understanding of human movement and nutrition. In addition, he currently travels the world coaching the CrossFit Strongman Seminar.

// Navigating change is an integral job of every strength and conditioning coach

There’s not a reader of this sentence that isn’t in the business of change. You’re free to fact check me on that, as well. Here’s the logic. There’s not a single athlete that I’ve met around the world that can fully control the outcomes of the future. I’d be willing to bet that you can’t either. The reason this is a universal truth is that for any given task there are some number of elements of that endeavor that are outside of our control. This truth is what introduces the paradox of peak performance that essentially is quest for results that can only be achieved by manipulating the process. What do we do as athletes and coaches? We make a plan. We do this (hopefully) full well knowing that we can’t control the future enough to bet on our plan in the first place.

Stacking the deck in your Favor

Since we all play by these rules of uncertainty, performance is never about guaranteeing a certain outcome. If you could, you would. Instead, we do the next best thing as high performers. We maximize our chances for success.

The best in the world across disciplines simply operate closer to perfect than others by controlling the controllable elements of their craft. This strategy, of course, is just objectively better than increasing the margin for a poor outcome by leaking performance in the areas that we can control. It’s uncertain, nonetheless.

Master change, by understanding you can only manage it

Here’s the thing about control. It only happens at one specific time. We can’t affect change in the past and this whole article to this point has reminded us that we can’t tangibly make changes to the future. Rather, we are most literally participants in the moment. Here and now is the only place we can take action, and since this moment is different than just a moment ago, we’ve all just been hired as a lifelong ‘Manager of Change’.

This is specifically why I can tell you that you’re in the business of change without knowing anything about you. Our environment is changing around us as we move through the day, the training session, the competition, and any other effort you may have. If you’d like to maximize your chances for quality outcomes, then, you’ll need to play your best cards on a moment to moment basis. Said differently, the perfect plan or program, then, is custom to the moment. It’s ever changing.

Find or create the tightest feedback loop possible

In a past life as a baseball player, this was ingrained at the highest levels. The highest expression of baseball, then, is played pitch to pitch. Amateurs who make adjustments and course corrections week-to-week, game-to-game, or even from inning-to-inning, will never be able to hold a candle to the athletes making adjustments from pitch-to-pitch by successfully securing the tightest feedback loop possible.

When we consider life in the gym, the rules apply just the same. I’ll ask you the rhetorical question, “Was your program written in the past, present, or the future?” Since you know it was written in the past, we must objectively understand that in an ever-changing world of variables – from the weather to your sleep to your recovery rate from injury – that a program written in the past can (and likely is) imperfect for this moment. After all, it’s only in the fleeting moment that you can do any training in the first place, right?

Training is a process of dosing stress for an intended response in the body. To understand peak performance as a mastery of the moment, then, would mean to understand that the best athletes and coaches in the world realize that an evolving athlete must come to each moment in training with a plan to extract the best chances for results. Being unwilling to evolve as time rolls forward is a stubborn game that yields unremarkable prizes.

Remember, as we move through time, change is inevitable and it’s more guaranteed than whatever your plans for the future are, people.

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