Can a Violinist Teach a Soldier to Train?

training methods in sport 4

Improvement takes practice. There really is no way around it. You have to put in the time and the effort to get the results you aim for. As they say, you can’t complain about the results you didn’t get from the work you didn’t do.

But what is the best way to train?

There are lots of training methods in sports used by lots of great coaches; however, when it comes to getting to your personal best it’s going to come down to you. Whether your sport is a team sport, on the playing field or in the field of combat, your training methods will determine how close you get to expert status.

Studies show that what’s known as “deliberate practice”, combined with the nutritional support your body requires, is what can put you at peak performance.

Deliberate Practice: The Best Method for Military Training?

Training methods in sport 1Soldiers are athletes – at least the best ones are. So there’s a lot of crossover between how you train in the military and how top athletes train for their sport.

You’ve probably heard how top athletes like Michael Jordon, who even after an amazing, “in-​​the-​​zone”, winning game stay on after the bleachers clear out and the cheers of the crowd are long gone, to practice their shots.


Does a great player need even more practice? And why practice all alone? Isn’t that kind of odd when you’re part of a team?

Not really. In the sports world, working on skills needed during the game can get the best results when they are practiced alone. Sure, the group dynamic provides value too. And, the coaching provides needed instruction about what to improve and how to improve it; however, when the rubber hits the road – the technical skills are all you.

Skills are built in solitude

So what advantages are there to training alone?

When it’s just you and the ball, or the hoop, or the hurdle, or the track, or whatever…there are no distractions. Improving your skills takes intense concentration. When you’re alone, you can concentrate on what’s most challenging to you personally, instead of what the team as a whole needs to improve upon.

Think about it. How many guys do you know who hit the wall on their own so they could scale it easily during the actual timed trials? When you’re alone, you have nobody to blame but yourself; nobody to challenge but yourself; and nobody to impress but yourself.

It allows you to tap into your personal motivations which ultimately build your resolve to master the training skill.

Even if you’re already pretty good at that skill!

How do Great Violinists Train?

Research Psychologist Anders Ericsson, studied violinists to try to figure out how the really great ones got to be that way. He compared the habits of expert violinists at the Music Academy in West Berlin. All these violinists were excellent, much like all the soldiers going through the rigors of an elite force like the Seals or Rangers are excellent.

Even with all that talent, they were able to identify which musicians were skilled enough to become international soloists (the best), which would be “good” violinists, and which were most suited to teaching (the “worst” of the best).

How could they do this? And, what did they notice about the best of the best?

All of them spent the same amount of time each week on music-​​related activities; however, those in the top two categories spent the most time practicing their craft alone. These expert violinists spent an average of 3.5 hours a day practicing by themselves; while the rest spent just 1.3 hours a day practicing solo.

The experts saw group practice as “leisure”. The real work…where the rubber hits the road…happened during solo practice.

Improvement Boils Down to Your Foundation!

training methods in sport 3At the end of the day…it all comes down to you.

Your physical fitness, your mental fitness, your skills, your motivation, and your nutritional preparation. Even when you are part of a bigger group.

When your military training methods mirror how great sports figures are developed, you build a strong foundation; and your personal best benefits you and your team.

When you focus on improving your personal skills, without worrying about the “game” as a whole, you become a valuable asset to your team.

When you focus on improving your personal level of mental and physical fitness through better nutritional choices and using supplements where they are needed, you build a foundation that can carry your skills. Face it, great skills are wasted on an unfit person. You can be the best shot in the world, but if you can’t even climb the stairs to get into position – you’re useless.

Don’t be useless. Deliberate practice plus a nutritionally sound body breeds success.

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  1. Mark says:

    “Even with all that talent, they were able to identify which musicians were skilled enough to become international soloists (the best), which would be “good” violinists, and which were most suited to teaching (the “worst” of the best).”

    The worst of the best? Let me clue you in to a little secret — Those who can’t, can’t teach either.… It takes more skill to be able to play well AND convey the method to another than it does to just play.

    Boo on you for insinuating that teachers are the “worst” of the best, instead of the best all around.

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