Recently I blogged on the TOEST.ca website how the hyper competitive environment in amateur sport is leading children and their parents to explore and pursue every opportunity that may offer a competitive advantage. In the past, this usually led to additional training opportunities but today, the mindset is that training is for losers and the ‘low hanging fruit’ to being faster is in equipment and supplements. Why waste time training, when being faster is as easy as lighter components, more aero gear, or supplements yielding performance benefits?
Undoubtedly there is benefit to equipment and supplements, the point is not to argue that, the point is to highlight that when process and progress in training is not the primary focus, and when everything else does become the focus… its unreal how far athletes, their parents, and coaches will go. No red spinach vs beets is not the issue, the issue is that today children and their parents are resorting to ‘legal doping’ in order to obtain desired outcomes. Children and parents have figured out that some of the prescribed medications children are on actually yield performance benefits. So what happens now, when some children are on such drugs for medical reasons which have performance enhancing benefits, yet other children are not? How exactly is competition fair? How exactly is qualifying fair if cut off times are being established based on times achieved with performance enhancing drugs… even if they are legal, even if mom & dad have a TUE? How long before parents of children who are not on meds starting seeking options to ‘help’ level the playing field?
This is how perverted amateur sports is becoming. Its not about children using sport as a metaphor for life and developing a skill set to succeed as adults… its all about putting children in head to head competition for the sake of selling the 0.1% chance that the child is going to Worlds, to the Olympics, etc…
Big business has taken over sport, and as big business does… it seeks to monetize the dreams of children & parents selling short cuts with massive price tags instead of selling process and proper progression with the price tag being proper training (not equipment & supplements).
If it was only red spinach or beets, then there would be no issue but the point of linking to this article is to showcase the overall mindset that has been emphasized. Training on sport websites, on sport teams and in the sports media has been cut down to cookie cutter 10, 12 and 16week training programs dumbing-down training to HiiT and eliminating any discussion as to skill, technique, and physiological capacity. Its hard training, end of discussion.
When training is dumbed-down to this extent, then athletes start looking elsewhere. And the elsewhere is now prescribed medications used along with a TUE in order to obtain cuts, qualifying times, to make it onto various teams.
We need to go back to basics, back to the beginning, emphasizing the development of body/kinesthetic intelligence seeing it as the primary engine of performance; and leaving all the supplements and equipment as the turbo effect. In this way, remembering that a turbo is useless without a proper engine should help us keep first things first.