Skill Acquisition/Learning [1]

Sept 27, 2015
By: Jim Pavia, Senior Editor
Published at

From the article titled: “Robbins: These mistakes can destroy your financial freedom

“Robbins believes people need to find ways to improve their skill sets to make themselves more marketable. No matter what you’re doing, you must continue to retool and find some way to improve your skills, he said. If you keep improving those skill sets in the competitive world we’re in, you’re going to have an opportunity to earn more and have more for your family.

However, Robbins believes if you stay with the knowledge base you have today in a knowledge-based economy, you’re going to find yourself in trouble because someone’s going to pass you by and get that job or that promotion you were looking to get. It’s just the truth of life today, he explained. We have to constantly be retooling, finding ways to improve ourselves, finding ways to add more value to our company or to our employees or to our customers.”


Although sport may not be considered to be a knowledge-based ‘economy’, it in fact is. Because it is, it is the ideal environment for children to learn how the adult ‘real’ world works: upgrade or be left behind. Retool or you will be the tool that becomes irrelevant.

In the past, coaches and athletes have relied on a certain base of knowledge of biology, physiology, psychology, sport specific technique, and so on to develop training programs, but these are no longer sufficient if coach and athlete seek to be relevant.  A working knowledge of physics (i.e. fluid dynamics, aerodynamics) is becoming increasingly critical to peak performance. A working knowledge of biomechanics, pathology, pre-hab and rehab concepts is a must if remaining competitive throughout a season is a priority. To maximize recovery, to prevent overtraining, injury, burn out and max outs coaches and athletes need to gain a wider and wider skill set to get out in the lead, and to remain in the lead. Today expertise in any single aspect of performance is no longer sufficient, coaches and athletes must entangle knowledge of biology with physics with physiology with sport specific technique if they are to be relevant in the sport.

A working knowledge of basic science is no longer sufficient; today biofeedback technology provides information to coaches and athletes that astronauts didn’t have access to only a decade or two ago. To make use of this information, coaches and athletes need to know how to read, analyze, and interpret it specific to the individual, to the sport, to the season, to the goals. Plus, discerning what information is valid, what is invalid, and how to apply it back into training and competition is more important than simply understanding the data to begin. On top, the flow of information continues to accelerate as today technology provides for real-time data, allowing changes to be made on the field, in the gym, on the track or on the deck, both while training and in competition conditions. If you have not retooled to the degree that you have a definite process for integrating new information, for developing the skills sets to apply new info, be aware that your competition is well ahead of you. If that wasn’t enough, the retooling doesn’t stop there as technology provides unending opportunities to learn from competitors. With underwater cameras following athletes in the pool, cameras embedded into the peloton on the back of a bike, and on athlete helmets, the volume of information grows exponentially. Retooling is needed to manage this flow, and to use it.  Watching video footage with editing tools is revolutionizing sport because frame by frame editing allows every aspect of an athlete’s technique, strategy, even entire game plans of a team to be studied, scrutinized, replicated if strong, or attacked where vulnerable.

The playing field is being flattened rapidly, coaches and athletes – just like entrepreneurs – must be innovating while leveraging all available resources to remain in the game. To remain in the game, whatever that game may be, retooling is the new normal.

Any coach or athlete who is not constantly retooling – i.e. figuring out how to train smarter than the competition – who instead continues to rely on archaic training concepts (e.g. train harder) is going to be passed by. It isn’t enough just to own the latest gadget, its taking the time to learn… about yourself, about your training, about how you respond to various forms of training, how you recover from training, from competition, what happens when you change one variable, what impact does it make on all other variables of training, and on and on it goes. The experiments are endless, and those who are experimenting will be the ones we will be watching as they will be the ones on the podium.

Training harder than everyone else was the old game plan. Today training harder is going to leave you surprised, shocked, and nursing the swift blow to the head your competition delivers when you least expect it. Train Smart or HardTraining smarter than everyone else is the new game plan, and there is no amount of hard training that will ever outperform smart training…ever.

Today, technology allows anyone to run experiments (where n=1) when only yesterday similar experiments would have required a fully equipped government or university funded laboratory. Today, technology allows anyone to test hypothesis after hypothesis, day in, day out. Today, technology allows scientific data and research which is population based to be tested at the individual level, allowing coach and athlete to customize training and competition to the individual’s physiology and psychology.

If you are not retooling yourself as a coach today, then if your knowledge base isn’t yet obsolete, its on the verge. If you are not retooling yourself as an athlete today, then if you haven’t been passed by rookies yet, you are on the verge of moving to the back of the pack.

Physical attributes and hard training alone are no longer sufficient to lead.

Mental tenacity, focus, and determination alone are no longer sufficient to gain an edge.

Emotional stability alone is insufficient to prevail over challenges competitors deliver.

Today, the level of competition requires all coaches and athletes to raise their game, to train and compete smarter than ever. To be on the leading edge requires not only the right tools, but tools which are sharpened daily, it requires ongoing retooling.