Navy Seals and personal instruction
Like many guys, I am a sucker for anything Special Forces. If there is a show on about their training or actual missions then I am glued to the TV. I recently surfed around the iTunes podcast section and came across a podcast where the host was talking about how Navy Seals train. In short, the training is just unbelievable. There are several baseball training lessons in that alone. He went on to say that a lot of instructors promote the fact (or in some cases, brag) that they have “trained Navy Seals.” He added that this promotion is a bit misleading. I think there is a baseball lesson in that as well.
The Navy Seals along with the other special forces are constantly looking for better, more efficient ways to accomplish their missions . They recognize that a mistake or even just an inefficiency in anything they do can result in soldiers dying. That sobering thought provides a never ended incentive to search for better, faster ways of doing things and then train with them over and over.
Lesson #1: Never stop looking for a better way to do something. These guys are the most highly trained soldiers the world has ever seen and they never cease to look for ways to get better. This is why I have little time for the player who’s eyes say “thanks coach, but I got everything covered doing it my way” every time you offer a suggestion. It’s just plain stupidity. Could you imagine a Seal refusing to even listen to an instructor who wants to help save his life?
With regard to the “I trained Navy Seals” comment, his explanation of why this can be misleading is as follows. The Seals and the other special forces constantly bring in outsiders who have some specialized knowledge that pertains to what their activities are. They listen to all of them and then try out what they have learned. As they train, they compare what they have learned with what they already know and do to see which is more effective. If it’s better, they incorporate it into their routine. If their original way is better, they set aside that new training. The point is, just because an instructor says he trained the Seals doesn’t mean the Seals actually use the training they got. The same thing is true for baseball instructors. Just because an instructor has personally worked with successful hitters doesn’t automatically mean the hitters use everything they preached. Like the Seals, Major Leaguers and other high level players usually take what they find useful and let the rest go.
Lesson #2: It is rarely good to completely buy into one person’s instruction. They are one of many people that you can learn from. Listen to all, find what works for you, and don’t be afraid to set aside the rest, at least for the time being.
I’ll throw in a third Seal lesson as well …
Lesson #3: Train like your life depends on it.
Tomorrow’s post: Training at half speed