August 15, 2018

    A Systematic Approach to Health and Performance

    The final principal of the Sparta philosophy is a systematic approach to human performance. This simply means a developed framework of “rules” that help guide decision making.

    Sys·tem noun

    1. a set of connected things or parts forming a complex or unitary whole.

    The value of a systematic approach is the honest evaluation of results. Especially in a complex discipline like human performance, it takes a consistent approach, using objective methods, evaluated over time to determine actual (rather than anecdotal) results. Our mission is to help as many people as possible maximize their performance, and this requires systems that can be evaluated for success. This key part of this systematic approach is the built-in feedback loop that drives innovation, refinement, and development over time.

    It is important to recognize that life is never truly objective. Even in a system that follows rules to make decisions, the parameters are set by humans who make subjective decisions based on the best available information (some of which is objective and some which is not). However the most robust systems are founded on the steady input of objective, reliable, and valid data that is used to make decisions.

    The aggregation of information for decision making is known as diagnosis. Sparta’s diagnostic tests form the basis for treatment. Treatment is simply a detailed plan of action to address the needs identified through the diagnosis. The results of the treatment can then be evaluated by the same objective criteria that formed the diagnosis. This evaluation of results can then be used to adapt future treatment plans in order to achieve better results. A strong foundation of systems provides much better feedback that guides future learning and growth. The result is the unique combination of objective data and human decision making used to grow toward the development of “best practices”.

    The reliance on technology to create systems that diagnose and treat individuals can seem like a cold and mechanistic approach that disregards the importance of human interaction and relationships. While it is understandable how some may interpret the systematic approach in this way, Sparta’s philosophy is based on using systems and technology to better engage individuals in the training process and provide more opportunities for emotional connection and interaction. There are three key elements of systems and technology that improve relationship-based coaching:

    • Education: good technology simplifies the complex and helps convey the WHY behind training

    • Results: good technology quantifies performance and both motivates toward a goal, and validates training (working hard and smart).

    • Trust: because good technology explains the WHY and validates results, the athletes can trust the plan and fully engage in the process

    Good systems and technology can also reduce the work that coaches have to do performing extra assessments, managing data, writing new programs in excel, and tracking results of each training session. A system means that the programs are already written, and good technology helps apply the appropriate program to different individuals, manage their data, and track their results. The near-automation of all these processes means that coaches can spend less time behind the computer screen and more time actually talking to their athletes! This is extremely valuable, especially in large team environments where the athletes greatly outnumber the coaches. Systems and technology, when used wisely, engage athletes and provide a feedback loop that accelerates development and results.

    The Sparta philosophy is based on the principles (or assumptions) that human performance results from the execution of systems based on assessment of needs and a focused intent on the ultimate goal.

    The Take Home

    Systems and technology give coaches the ability to build deeper relationships with athletes and develop trust through a clear understanding and validation of the training process. Assessment forms the foundation for a feedback loop that helps coaches get better and give athletes the best training through diagnosis, treatment, evaluation, and adaptation. The best ability is availability: addressing weaknesses in order to improve movement efficiency is the intent of the Sparta philosophy.

    These principles are the basis of the Sparta philosophy. You don’t have to agree with all of them, but it is important to understand how your disagreement with these assumptions shapes your views.

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