It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen. - John Wooden
The secret to success is often so obvious that it hides within plain sight. I don’t claim that there are too many hidden secrets within strength & conditioning that will make or break a coach or program, but rather, a complex understanding that ‘details matter’.
The Wooden example regarding socks and shoes vividly illustrates this point. On the first day of practice, legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden would instruct the team on how to properly put on their shoes and socks. He created a routine and would meticulously walk each athletes through each step of the process. Understand that these athletes are college-aged men who have been playing basketball since their early childhood and could likely navigate fitting a shoe to their feet.
Wooden thought differently and systematically. He could be characterized as seeing the complete picture. Coach Wooden understood that ‘details matter’. Coach would then go on to say the following:
“Basketball is a game that's played on a hardwood floor, and to be good, you have to ... change your direction, change your pace. That's hard on your feet. Your feet are very important. And if you don't have every wrinkle out of your sock...The wrinkle will be sure you get blisters, and those blisters are going to make you lose playing time, and if you're good enough, your loss of playing time might get the coach fired. There's always a danger of becoming untied when you are playing, If they become untied, I may have to take you out of the game — practice, I may have to take you out. Miss practice, you're going to miss playing time and not only that, it will irritate me a little too."
Strength and Conditioning is also an area that requires great attention to details. Whether it’s a hook grip on an olympic lift, a landing strategy on a box jump, or a proper rack position for a front squat. Details matter. A small technical breakdown or lapse of focus could result in missing one or two repetitions per lift. You might think missing one repetition isn’t a big deal but ‘details matter’.
One or two repetitions per lift may result in approximately 312 repetitions per year. Depending on the program design, that could be the equivalent of missing two or three weeks of lifting per movement. Imagine if your team is preparing for the Final Four or National Championship – think you might want those missed opportunities back when the margin of victory is so small.
Repetitions matter. Socks & shoes matter. Details matter.