A dear friend brought to my attention that my intention in this blog has not been clear. It’s not meant to be an opus or manifesto. Rather, I’m laying the groundwork for future in-depth articles, and I hope to spark discussions on topics that are still in development for the actual hard copy to come. These initial posts are mainly stream of consciousness. I realize that, at this point, they may be a little scattered and non-linear. Moving on . . .
Speaking of groundwork, let me elaborate on that. I love Russian philosophy in all things sport. I admire the national pride, the ironclad work ethic, and the concept of GPP—General Physical Preparation. In short, GPP is the idea of being generally conditioned for physical activity, regardless of what it is. I’m gonna show my age here with this statement, but kids nowadays really get shit on. My generation was the last one that was told to get out of the house and be back before dark. We did not have cell phones and were not lo-jacked. We just didn’t make stupid choices—it was a simple product of knowing that our parents expected a lot of us, and we in turn could expect a few swats to the ass if we didn’t live up to the expectations. (Yes I realize I digress, you were warned!) We ran, climbed, crawled, jumped, swam, and fell. We threw things, caught things, and learned to take a hit. This activity was preparation for basic physical competency and learning sports at higher levels. As we grew, the swats, falls, and hits were harder, but we survived because our skills kept pace.
Eventually, in reference to sport, people reach a limit and they RAPIDLY regress. The use-it-or-lose-it principle takes hold in a big way, and people who could once touch the backboard can no longer touch their feet. It is a tragedy, but it’s their own fault. This discussion of preparation and regression brings me to the notion of the Elite. Why is it that someone great at any sport is usually at least good at most of them? You will hear people refer to Elite athletes as being “naturally” good at everything. But is their success really a product of nature, or is it a result of time spent in GPP? I am inclined to believe in GPP over ethereal gifts bestowed upon a chosen few. One concept of my Elite philosophy is that everyone is capable, but capability is worth very little.
Another tangent: The world is stuffed full of potential that sits on its ass and does nothing, or potential that’s wasted playing video games. Elites are pushed by pride, a strong work ethic, and drive bordering on obsession, just like the Russians. The most genetically gifted human of all time most likely lacked the ethic that it would take to reach his full potential because, when these two situations converge, it usually makes history.
GPP is critical to full potential. Once an Elite level is reached in any sport, GPP should still be maintained. Now I am not saying to go risk blowing out a knee a few weeks before the big game, but at the same time, no matter what your specialty is, you should be able to play catch and shoot a basketball. Minimums are not the Elite style, though—if you want the path of least resistance, then reference the 4-Hour Body. For the sake of the Elite trainer, GPP needs to be used to enhance all aspects of performance. The beautiful part of it is that not only will proper GPP help with any specialty, it has a holistic effect on everything from injury prevention to optimal sexual activity. And, yes, sex is a huge part of GPP!
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“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”—Benjamin Franklin