Performance: Basics, Adjacencies, Expand

I have coached sports teams since I was in university (coached a middle school basketball team in West Africa) till now (I coach the adaptive/pararowing squad at Marlow Rowing Club). As such, this piece by Dr. Caitlin McGee rang true for me – “5 ways to avoid hurting yourself while PC gaming”:

The 70/20/10 rule is a staple of models of performance. When it comes to things that make you better at whatever it is you do—be it soccer, CS:GO, or rock climbing

  • 70% CORE BASICS – “70 percent of the improvement in your performance comes from consistent mastery of the basics. Those basics are things like adequate sleep, appropriate nutrition and hydration, and regular training to meet the specific demands of your particular activity.”
  • 20% ADJACENCIES“20 percent of the improvement comes from building on those basics of your field with concepts from other fields. For gaming, that might mean using tools that musicians and professional dancers prepare to perform, or learning strategies that air traffic controllers use to stay cognitively alert over long periods of time.”
  • 10% OUT THERE“10 percent of improvement comes from experimental, novel ideas, or “moonshots”. In certain sports, these are things like using supplements or cryotherapy.”

I particularly appreciated the “10%” component. This is a key ingredient to Adaptive/Pararowing where athlete impairments necessitate experimenting with radically unconventional approaches which can have huge efficacy. I can relate to it from my own sporting experiences when coaches would have us do something completely different for the occasional session. Rowing at Harvard, the legendary Harry Parker used to take us out to the football (soccer) pitches on a Friday for a good old kick around. He would join in as well (and you got to experience his competitive streak first hand). I would often return to the dorm after such “friendly” game more exhausted than many of the river sessions.

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