Marginal gains are great. When you’re ready. 

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By Dr Tom Brownlee

Photo Credit: Tim Foster on Unsplash

I was talking to a PhD student at a Premier League club recently about the design of their upcoming study. Broadly speaking we were looking at whether a training modality, which is often used in clubs actually works or not. This led us off-topic a little to consider whether, in the days of podcasts, courses and social media it’s quite easy for us all to follow trends without doing our due diligence. 

Do we always know why we’re choosing the exercises we are? And perhaps more importantly, can we be sure they’re doing what we hope they are? Lastly, if we can tick off those two questions can we be sure that our athletes are actually in a position to benefit from them?  

I feel in many incidences we may be striving for marginal gains before we’ve achieved the maximal gains by getting the basics right first. This can be hard as we might be striving to show that we’re adding value, rather than wanting to keep it simple, even if we know that’s what is needed at this time.  

But you wouldn’t put the sprinkles on before you’ve made the cake mixture would you?

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