If I’ve nothing of value to say, I don’t say anything.

And it’s the same when I corner or coach a fighter – I prefer to chose a few good words and leave it there. I let those key points drill-deep and take effect, rather than clouding with distractive clutter. For me that’s the essence of coaching… knowing what NOT to say as much as what TO say.

And distractive clutter is certainly abundant these days, and I prize greatly the ability to focus and filter out what isn’t essential right now. To pick the priority 20% of actions that will make 80% of the impact, not wasting time on the stuff that makes little difference to you.

And guess what…

The priority actions aren’t the sexy, flashy stuff you’ve seen on YouTube or Facebook.

You’re wasting your time if you haven’t exploited everything the basics can give you first. That’s the secret that the best-of-the-best in any discipline are exploiting.

Using “advanced” techniques doesn’t make you advanced. This is true of everything – including Muay Thai, strength and power training, cardio conditioning, mind-set and your nutrition for example.

I think Dr Graeme Close summarises it perfectly when he says of nutrition, “A turd with 30g of whey is still a turd – it just has some protein in it.”

I love it when clever dudes use analogies that even I can understand!

And there’s another saying that fits the bill – “You can’t polish a turd, but you can roll it in glitter.” I see many training practices as glitter-turds!

The truth is that 80-90% of what you can achieve in ANY discipline comes from simply being ruthlessly good at the basics. Only once you’ve exhausted progress using knowledgeable manipulation of the basics do you need to consider using “advanced” methods, or they’re being utterly wasted. And the reality is, probably less than 10% of elite performers ever need to tap into such methods to break through performance plateaus.

Here are a few examples that have made me facepalm…

I’ve seen trainers in gyms using blood flow restriction (BFR) bicep curls with clients new to resistance training and pencil-thin arms…

I’ve seen Thai boxers eagerly practicing Saenchai-esque cartwheel kicks when they’re unable to throw a well-balanced low kick…

I see people eating no-carb diets or intermittent fasting when they’ve no grasp of the nutrition fundamentals of calorie requirements, macronutrients and meal timing.

But the thing is…

In an attempt to appear “advanced”, using these practices entirely inappropriately screams “Newbie!” like Thai boxer training in jogging bottoms!

So please don’t fall for it. Make it your focus to understand what to do, when and why. To use the right tool for the right job when it’s needed. Use a hammer to drive in a nail, and a screwdriver for a screw, not vice versa! Have a reason for everything that you do. A dumb copy-cat attitude doesn’t cut it.

Going off at a tangent? Actually, no…

My reason for sharing anything, is to improve understanding. Personally, I’m constantly seeking to improve my own understanding, to find a more efficient way… to change my mind about how I’ve done things before if necessary. If I can help you to do the same, I know you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of where you were.

When I share something I want to add value, not merely spew out a copy of something else I’ve seen that’s proven popular online. The majority of those online aren’t discerning enough to know the difference between sexy and shiny but wasteful, and the real deal.

I’m not worried about a popularity contest. If I was, I’d be making attention-seeking nonsense videos about “Pen Pineapple Apple Pen”.

Or even worse, copying it to prostitute myself for likes and shares.

Sorry… that last one… some things you can’t “un-see”.

Please don’t misunderstand me, this isn’t an angry rant… it’s entirely the opposite, a calm observation that my purpose is entirely different to most. I’m not in it for the “YouTube revenue”.

I’d prefer to have an audience of 10 people that understand and truly “get it”, rather than 10,000 people that just want to see yet another pranking video.

What I’ve come to learn is, that how you are, is what you attract. If your motivation is superficial, then you’ll be surrounded by those that share those same values! I’ve heard coaches moaning about the kind of students or clients they have, completely unaware of what they are beaming out there with their own behaviour.

There I go with the facepalm again.

So if you simply want a one-off stunt performance for bragging rights, please pass me by. But if you’d like to genuinely move forwards with deliberate purpose, then stay tuned! I hope to drop a few gold nuggets in your direction that you could choose to pick up – that is, if you can spot them amongst those glitter-turds!

Don Heatrick

Founder of Heatrick Strength and Conditioning

Don Heatrick is a family man from the UK, former mechanical design engineer, European Muay Thai silver medallist, former pro Thai boxer (ranked 4th in UK while aged 40-years), a Muay Thai coach, podcast host, and the go-to expert on Muay Thai performance training with over 25 years of coaching experience.

Don helps ambitious fighters and coaches take their game to the next level by bridging the gap between Strength & Conditioning, Performance Science, and Muay Thai.

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