Its Not Complicated, Its Just Really Hard

I was once in a big review meeting after the Olympic Games. There were 20 or 30 people, most of whom were at the Games, and they (we) were reviewing what happened with a view to improving things for the next Games. I’ll never forget the 20+ minute discussion on Powerade. It was a discussion on whether to have powdered Powerade or liquid Powerade, and people were passionately discussing the positives and negatives which were brought to light at the recent competition. Now, the people involved in the conversation were very smart people who were serious in their desire to work out the best solution, but I couldn’t help but wonder if there weren’t more important things to be spending 20 minutes evaluating.

As the knowledge of sport and its peripherals increases its possible to add more and more layers of complexity on something that might be simple, just hard to do. What’s the PERFECT diet, the BEST recovery, the PERFECT schedule for meals, the BEST travel routine? What’s the BEST physique, the PERFECT technique, the MOST training, the EARLIEST specialisation?

So – the point? Sometimes we confuse difficulty with complexity. That is – we are trying to do something hard, and get so wrapped up in the possibilities that we lose track of what we are trying to achieve. Sometimes we need to remember, it’s not complicated, it’s just really hard. So, whether you are trying to win an Olympic Medal or teach a fundamental skill, the key is to avoid making things overly complex whenever possible. Most likely, working hard, and keeping it simple, are going to get you where you want to go. The challenge is, when you are working hard, and haven’t yet achieved your goal, it’s easy to think you haven’t done something, whereas maybe you just need to keep working hard for longer.

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