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The Grind vs. The Strategic Approach


The Grind vs. The Strategic Approach

Jake Marx

Over the years, I've had the privilege of coaching and supporting hundreds of professional athletes. During that time I've learned that there are many ways to physically prepare and to personally create optimal performance. I have found that what works for one athlete is often not the best way to train another athlete. I have grown to really appreciate these nuances. This year’s Australian Open tennis finals (both men’s and women’s) demonstrated some of these nuances perfectly.

On one end of the spectrum you have the hard-driving work machine who simply is driven to just outwork their competition. Everything they do is intense, long, and punishing. He or she is driven by the belief that if they work harder and longer than everybody else, they will always come out on top. When things don't go their way, they double their physical efforts.

On the other end of the spectrum you have the strategist. They are strategic in how they spend their energy and they try to apply the “right” amount of intensity to each task. They reflect on what they do well, they calculate the cost of their effort and approach, and they maximize what they do well. They see the big picture when it comes to the stress/recovery curve and would rather undertrain than overtrain so they have some extra gas in the tank if they need it in their competition.

As we work with executives, athletes, coaches, and special operators, we also see these two approaches. There are those who grind day in and day out and others who approach their work strategically and intentionally to spend their energy, time, and effort where it will make the greatest impact. Both of these approaches can be highly effective but our experience has shown us the latter is more sustainable.

What is your personal preference? Has this approach changed as you’ve gotten older? Would you sometimes benefit from applying both approaches? Is your approach sustainable? Does your approach optimize your strengths so you can maximize your impact?

As I stated in my opening, I am fascinated by the nuances of working/training approaches. At the same time, I am passionate about making sure your approach gets you the Sustainable High Performance results you want. In athletic terms, I want you to be an energetic, mentally agile problem-solver who can win in tough competition while remaining injury free.

As always we'd love to hear your thoughts.

Jake Marx
Tignum Performance Coach