My good friend Sarah Jamieson often speaks of parts and patterns. We often become obsessed with the parts and begin to forget the patterns the parts make up. For a moment, think about a time your car didn’t start. You can tell someone ‘the car won’t start’, and you may try a few things to start it that you have experience with, like checking the battery.
You’re drawing on that previous experience, right? You are taking what worked previously, something that you understand, and thinking you understand why your car won’t work now! But, when the few things you know don’t work, you call a mechanic.
A mechanic sees the entire vehicle as a machine – the pattern made up of parts. The mechanic sees the parts like a motor, electrical system, radiator, brakes and how they interact to create the pattern that is the vehicle.
You go to the mechanic to solve what you cannot solve because the mechanic has the training to understand the concept of the vehicle, how the systems work together, and how those systems work with other systems…not the problem that is the vehicle not cranking. You want to change your life, your physique, or your strength but you’re stuck. How do you get unstuck?
In many ways, there are two stages of learning. We gather pieces of information we are told, and then we put those pieces together to create a pattern of what someone is teaching us. This is why you train the hydraulics in your lower body and back first, then the arm lift, then you put them together. Once we have gathered the necessary information and put the pieces together, how do you apply it?
1. Ask Different Questions
Imagine for a moment you ordered a heart rate monitor from Amazon. It arrives, you tear it open, you go to turn on your new heart rate monitor…and it doesn’t work! So, you do everything you can to make it work. You put in batteries from your old one, then buy new batteries, then go online and search for answers.
Eventually, in passing, you look at the box it came in and see there is a hole in it, plus the bottom of the box was wet. You got a heart rate monitor that was wet from a hole in the box. It was never the device. It was the box that caused the problems this whole time.
And now you just spent all that money on batteries! In many ways you’re like the box – complete with hole or not. Many people spend so much time looking at the pieces in the proverbial box delivered to them, they don’t ask how the box got there in the first place.
Is the box full of holes or dents? What is the box built from? Who built the box? These are conceptual questions.
You should ask yourself these questions before you decide to perform a movement. First questions you must ask are who you learned from previously and analyze what you know based on the past… Figure out why you’re doing something wrong before you try to fix it. In other words, look at the box first, not what’s in the box.
2. Have a Base Line You Know Like the Back of Your Hand