What contributes to performance?
My favourite tool for taking a broad look at the determinants of performance is the Performance Pyramid (right). This model shows a grouping of the factors that allow one to excel in sport, organized from the most general as the foundation, to the most specific as the peak.
With so many people striving for higher levels of performance in sport and in life, we now have countless resources for developing the top of this pyramid. Whole fields have been created specific to sport and performance and we know more about sport nutrition, sport psychology, and sport-specific training than ever before.
What holds us back?
In our pursuit of the bigger, better, faster training methods, athletes have become less and less connected to the foundation of the pyramid: health and movement.
This is not sport-specific health and movement, but health and movement that is specific to human beings. Lacking the physical, mental, social, emotional and spiritual elements of health, or the flexibility, range of motion, balance and motor control that create fundamentally engrained movement patterns, athletes are severely limited in their ability to reach their potential.
The result of this imbalanced approach to performance training? An athlete's Performance Pyramid can easily become inverted (left), setting them up for injury, burnout, constant fatigue or anxiety, or any number of signs that your life is out of balance.
In this very common case, reconnecting athletes and high achievers with basic aspects of a healthy lifestyle tends to create more foundation to support the application of higher level skills, and thus performance improves, and can continue to improve.
While this is a common case, it is not the case for everyone. Many athletes take excellent care of their health, and are simply missing another piece of the puzzle which is holding them back.
Applying a one-size fits all model to performance enhancement is deeply flawed, as no two athletes are the same. The methods that produce the largest gains for one athlete may be the final straw for an athlete with an already imbalanced Performance Pyramid.
What makes me different?
The way to improve performance is not always to use newer and better training techniques. True, sustainable long term development comes only from aligning one’s training methods to leverage strengths and manage weaknesses, and from always working towards a larger “why?”. Exceptional strategies exist for developing every aspect of the performance pyramid, but the greatest tool or method in the world is still ineffective if it’s not working on the right problem.
My approach stems from developing an in depth understanding of where an athlete is starting from in all levels of the Performance Pyramid. From here, we work together to determine what his or her goals are, and what we need to do to get there. Then come the tools - picking the right method to improve the weak link as efficiently as possible. Then comes the practice. As changes occur, we re-evaluate and determine the next step on the path towards the ultimate goal.
My main role is simply as a teacher and guide for my clients to gain a deeper understanding of themselves and their unique characteristics, and how these relate to their goals. An educated, empowered client can structure their life to work towards their ultimate vision of performance and happiness - the time we spend working together is only the spark for this transformation.
Who is Holistic Performance Coaching for?
While this model of training stemmed from elite athlete development, the holistic qualities of the approach transfer for anyone striving to reach a clear goal. My holistic approach has helped many motivated non-athletes who suffer from chronic pain, injury, or movement dysfunction. While I don't have the skill set to be an expert in every area of health, wellness, and performance, my perspective as a generalist can often expose a weak link in lifestyle, treatments or training and create a new path towards the same elusive goal.