As we all move through the path of learning we all have one factor we need to accept and face head-on: we're going to be inconsistent.
Being an athlete reflects the human experience. There are highs and there are lows, successes and failures, consistencies, and inconsistencies. Just as life has ebbs and flows so does an athlete’s journey.
Embracing inconsistency as a natural element of your sport allows you to approach your craft with a more holistic and grounded mindset.
Growth is Non-linear
Anyone who has embarked on the journey of mastering a skill understands that growth is not always a steady, linear path. There are moments of improvement followed by plateaus. And there are even moments of regressions. As you work on increasing one skill in a specific area, it takes time to find consistency in the new skill. It’s also normal to lose consistency in the other areas of your sport.
This cycle is a fundamental part of the learning process. It is through the moments of inconsistency that athletes often gain the most insight into themselves, their techniques, and the mental aspects of sports.
Physical and Mental Variables
Fatigue, stress, emotional states, and external factors like weather and environment can influence an athlete’s performance on any given day. Recognizing that inconsistency can be a result of these numerous variables allows athletes to be kind to themselves to recalibrate, and to find strategies to cope.
As we're all on the path to mastery, dealing with and accepting inconsistency is something we must learn to not just accept but even enjoy. We must love the process to get us through the more frustrating times.
The Role of Adversity
Inconsistency introduces adversity, and adversity is a powerful teacher. Many of the world’s top athletes credit their setbacks and inconsistencies as the catalysts for their greatest comebacks. When athletes face these challenges head-on, they develop resiliency, grit, and a deeper appreciation for their accomplishments.
The Danger of Perfectionism
Aiming for perfection is a common trap that many athletes fall into. While setting high standards is essential for elite performance, expecting unwavering consistency can lead to frustration, burnout, and even mental health issues. When you accept inconsistency as a part of the journey, you can develop a healthier relationship with your sport and yourself.
Motivation for Innovation
Inconsistent performances often push athletes to rethink their strategies, techniques, and training regimens. It drives them to seek new coaching perspectives, experiment with different techniques, and even cross-train in other disciplines. This adaptability and willingness to innovate can lead to breakthroughs that wouldn’t have been discovered in a state of constant consistency.
Moving Past Inconsistency
When we begin learning a new skill, it is very normal for us to have a small bit of regression before we hit a plateau.
When working with athletes, Blayze coaches notice:
- In Phase 1, the athlete will start working on a new technique or skill. They are wildly inconsistent and other parts of their performance may take a small step back. At this stage, athletes should continue focusing on getting the new technique correct.
- Phase two of building consistency is usually the phase that takes the longest amount of time. In this phase, the rest of your skills normalize at a level close to where you were before. You can slowly build more and more consistency around the new technique. In this stage, you are still consciously thinking about the technique change which is slowly programming your subconscious mind where things become more automatic.
- Phase 3 is our burst of progress stage. Suddenly, things click. You can execute the new technique consistently in a way that does not require you to think about it. Your subconscious mind has taken over this technique. Overall technique leaps forward. You have those magical breakthrough moments before your next plateau.
This is an area where your coach can play a very important role as well. One of the more difficult aspects for us to do as we self-analyze is to separate each technique from one another. A coach can help identify if you are building more consistency around the specific technique or not.
If an athlete loses consistency in other areas of their performance but they are slowly increasing consistency in the focus areas, then the lack of consistency elsewhere should not matter. As athletes realize that and see what their coach sees they are slowly able to untangle the connection between every action and deepen their focus on what matters at any given time.
A key part of getting the most out of your coach is to not wait to show your coach videos from that burst of progress moment. Your coach will be most helpful during those plateaus, during those frustrating times when you are stuck and not consistent.
Of course, you want to see videos of you succeeding and hitting high-performance metrics! But, to get more of those videos you have to also watch when you are struggling as well. Not only will you progress faster this way, but you'll also get more enjoyment from those moments as well.
Final Thoughts on Inconsistency
Inconsistency, while often viewed negatively, is an inherent part of the athletic journey. It is a reflection of the unpredictable nature of being a human. When you embrace your inconsistency, you can learn to navigate the complexities of your sport with grace, resilience, and a deeper understanding of your personal journey.
Learn More With Blayze!
We know private coaching can be expensive and working one-on-one with a high-quality coach can easily reach $1,000 a month or more. Time is limited and parents have full-time jobs and multiple kids. Coaches are very busy and often don’t have time to privately help your kid or if they do it’s not convenient and on your schedule.
It’s an unregulated industry, so most coaches have little to no training and can do more harm than good. It’s hard and you’re often limited by the quality of coaches in your immediate area.
We started Blayze to make one-on-one coaching with high-quality coaches more convenient and less expensive. No matter where you live, no matter what your skill levels are, you can get matched with a pro coach who is highly trained today and work with them for up to 95% less than in-person options.
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