Viewing entries tagged
the heroes journey

Goals Focused Training

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Goals Focused Training

One of our main programs here at EST is goals based programming. For a lot of people that might mean weight loss, improved health, or body sculpting. However we are a nerd gym, and we have nerd clients, with nerd goals. So how, and why, do we program for those goals? We use sport specific training just like an athlete would. For this article I'm going to use the examples of baseball and esports and compare how their training really is the same.

For sports or nerd goals you want to focus on two forms of training; skills and strength and conditioning. Skills are going to be the specific things you are going to use during a game. For baseball your skills focusing are going to be on running, catching, throwing, as well as learning your teams plays and strategies. For Esports and gaming your skills training is going to be reflexes, hand dexterity, hand eye coordination, and game play strategies. For strength and conditioning your looking to improve your general athletics, so that can execute your skills better. You also want to work the areas around and supporting what you use for skills training but in a different and/or corrective way. For example a catcher isn't going to do tons of squats on their strength and conditioning day because it's all they'll be doing on their skills and game day. A gamer who stares at a screen for his game is not going to want to use screen based drills or they may impair their vision on game day. That is the basics of sports specific training. Your looking to improve the skills most directly associated with your hobby, and the general conditioning and strength to execute those skills well.

Now that we have an understanding of sports specific training how do we apply that to our hobbies. First thing you want to do is figure out what your goal is, and be clear and specific. Derek Jeter didn't just want to “be good and baseball.” He wanted to be the best hitter, that was his main focus. He focused on baserunning and fielding as part of his skills training. He also took on a position of leadership, this is also part of his skills training and play. These are all skills that he focused on developing in his training. So the first thing you have to ask yourself is what are your goals. If we go back to gaming; do you want a better kill to death ratio? Would clicks per minute up your game? Do you need to get better at reading the map or spotting enemies? Do you want to follow plot points and solve puzzles better? Figure out what your specific goals are and what skills you want to improve. Next set up a training program and schedule around those skills. This is going to mean playing the game but not necessarily in a fun way. Go into a practice mode or replay earlier levels looking not to win or rack up a high score but to work on one skill. If you want to get better at being sneaky and finding cover, play with no weapons and just see how long you can survive. This is going to be super frustrating and take a lot of fun out of the game, you will die…a lot, but you will also get better, it will help you to focus on a specific skill. You can also use different games or skill based exercises to help you develop. Juggling for hand eye coordination or jigsaws for pattern recognition. We are using gaming here as our example but again this works for all hobbies. Once you have your skills training down it is on to your strength and conditioning.

Now this were I get a lot of push-back, this is were even gamers start to tell me that e-sports isn't really sports. I can't tell you how many time I get told that you don’t need conditioning because, gaming, LARP, DnD, cosplay, Fanfic, comic books, are all sedentary hobbies. I get it...you don't want to get on the treadmill, don't worry neither do I. However strength and conditioning can improve all of these skills. Remember strength and conditioning is putting your body in a position that it can execute the skill better. Joe Manganiello is a better D&D player then most because he has a well conditioned body. This allows his skills at role playing, puzzle solving, and basic arithmetic to come through. He has the energy, focus, posture, to play the game because he is well conditioned. Olympic level archers have talked about know they will win over someone who is less conditioned then them not because they are the superior archer but because in the moment their conditioning will help them deal with elevated heart rate, stress, energy, and focus, and their skills training can shine through. Now again I don't need you to jump on a treadmill or being looking to get abs like Joe. For your own strength and conditioning look at what gives out first in your hobby, what is sore the next day, when do you lose focus and why. You want to build your conditioning programming around that. If you lose focus every time the battle gets intense and your heart rate spike then work on sprint style drills that spike your heart rate so you get comfortable there. If you have to stop because your hands cramp up then maybe you need to work on some grip recovery work. Remember just like the catcher doesn't squat, you want to do stuff that strengthens your weak spots without overworking those movement patterns.

Ok now for the mushy wellness, let’s be happy and healthy part. As you work on these skill and training you may find that it’s a way to work in some healthy habits into your life. It might even making them a part of your everyday habits more then an awful chore you don’t want to do. Much like when we pick up a new hobby, start getting better at it, and slowly start you make it a part of our everyday life. Adding skills training can both enhance that and making different healthy habits a part of your everyday life. As always if you find yourself lost, or don't know how or where to start please reachout, we are here to be that reacorse for you

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How to Navigate Your Skill and Attribute Tree

How to Navigate Your Skill and Attribute Tree

 

When embarking on the heroes journey, you may find that navigating your user interface for your skills and attributes is rather clunky and not very intuitive. When possible, using a tutorial with the help of a guide can greatly improve your chances of success. At the very least learning how to read and understand your skill and attribute tree can set you in the right direction. So what are skills and attributes, and why do they even matter?

What are Attributes?

Attributes are your basic physical traits. Strength, speed, endurance, agility. Generally speaking when you are working out, you are attempting to improve one, some, or all of these attributes. They are the limits of what you can pick up or carry, how quickly you can get what you're carrying from point A to point B, how far a distance you can carry the object between point A and point B, and how many movements or changes in direction you can make while moving from point A to point B.

Most of the time if you find yourself using your attributes, the quest in question requires a mix of some to all of them. It is very rare that your quest simply requires you to pick something up and replace the object in the same spot you found it. However! When working to level up your attributes, you are best served by focusing on one attribute at a time. Whether it be through a full cycle of training that you spend on one specific attribute, or splitting up your workouts through out the week to focus on separate attributes.

The reason you want to focus on one attribute at a time is because they are applied generically to a variety of events, and trying to predetermine which events you're going to encounter is highly improbable. By linearly focusing on one attribute at a time, you can clearly see your progress as you level up, and have a better estimate of whether or not your current level can successfully interact with a situation. 

What are Skills

Skills are abilities that utilize your attributes. They are movement patterns, ranges of motion, or tool use. We use the word tool loosely. It doesn't have to be a crescent wrench or help you build something. It can be a toy, game, a weapon, or any other object that requires your interaction to be used. Your skills are the creative outlets for using your attributes. Much like with your attributes, you're best served by focusing on one skill at a time.

Not so much for keeping track of the linear progression, but more because of the time consumption required for success. There is a direct correlation between the amount of time spent practicing a skill, and the point at which it becomes an unconscious response. Leveling up a skill starts at the first point of it becoming unconscious. If you have to think about executing a skill before doing so, you have already been slayed.

By focusing on one skill at a time you can minimise the amount of time required to reach an unconscious response. You can further improve the time it takes to reach an unconscious response by practicing it everyday. While a given skill may get rusty if unused for too long, having it logged into your subconscious makes it much easier to pick up again when you need it. This allows you to focus on leveling up a new skill while merely maintaining your already developed ones. Maintaining your leveled skills simply requires applying their unconscious responses in your quests. In other words, keep going on quests.

Where do they fit into your heroes journey?

While your skills are purely technical, and until used, mostly theoretical, it is your attributes that dictate how long and with how much force you can execute them. You can't really succeed in any quest unless you build and maintain both of them. A skill without honed attributes will be weak, inefficient, lower your chances of survival, and eliminate any chances of escaping. Highly leveled attributes may allow you to survive longer, but leave you unable to complete any tasks.

The balance of trying to level up a skill and your attributes can seem daunting, but it doesn't have to be. The simplest structure is to focus on one skill and one attribute at a time and separately from each other. Your skill would be practiced every day, while fresh, and separate from or at least before your attribute workout. Your attribute workout would then focus on improving EITHER strength, speed, endurance, or agility. This allows you time to recover physically from each workout AND accurately track your attributes progress. If you don't have enough time or energy to switch attributes every day, you can instead focus on one attribute each time you work out and switch them out every month or so.

The relationship between your attributes and skills is built and maintained for the long haul. There is no point where you wake up and no longer have to work to at least keep your attributes at their current level. This is the biggest fallacy of working out. The idea that you've reached your goal, so you can stop. Or that you're done working out because you are already in shape. The most painful example is believing that you will pause your real life until you level up your skills and attributes to an acceptable level before returning to your previous ways.

The most crucial aspect of the heroes journey is adapting the lessons you learn to create a new you, understanding, and way of life. Peter Quill (Star Lord, and leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy) was once nothing more than a lazy dimwitted local government employee, that sucked at shining shoes.  He altered his beer intake, found his way to the gym after failing the police fitness test, and built in the day to day discipline required to improve his attributes to the level of a kick ass space pirate. He did so all AFTER turning 34. Peter didn't become a kick ass space pirate and then return to over consuming beer and getting high on shoe polish. He continued to maintain the required skills and attributes his new life required of him. Unfortunately for the fate of half the universe, he never really grew out of his over emotional dim wittedness.