I’ve had many frustrating training and combat encounters. Ones where I have felt suddenly incapable of accomplishing something that may have seemed simple weeks before. It’s easy to jump to a conclusion “I’m just not practicing enough”, “I’m not learning”, “My opponent is just way better than me”. Yet there are so many factors that go into a given performance.
1. Diet. What you eat can significantly impact your performance. Low blood sugar, poor carb/protein balance, and simply not eating enough or too much of the wrong thing.
2. Rest. Have you slept poorly? Did you stay up too late last night? Even if you don’t feel tired, sleep is the time when your body regenerates muscle tissue and recuperates your physical systems not simply your mental ones.
3. Mental State. How you are talking to yourself and responding to external stimulus (someone trying to hit you in the head for example) are highly affected by your psychological state. Everyone has had the experience of being in “the zone” and many more experiences of the opposite. Some days can be harder than others for getting into this space.
I’m not providing these reasons as an excuse to not critically assess your performance. What I’m counselling is to assess performance over a series of events in order to reveal trends. Single point data collection is a flawed approach for effective planning. Also be aware of, and plan for, a broader approach to training than simply drilling and conditioning. A well designed training program includes activity-specific training as well as time for recuperation, training-based diet planning, and mental, as well as physical, training.