The Speed Ladder

of Life!

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The other day, my son came over to talk about getting himself a speed ladder so he can get some practice in, during the summer as he conditions for football in his senior year at school.

It’s unfortunate for kids like him who are supposed to get the most out of their final school year but, have to amend ways to keep training, albeit with social distancing for a contact sport!

A speed ladder is one used to fine-tune your speed, agility and move your feet faster as an athlete. There are dozens of drills associated to benefit the most from them. Such ladder training typically involves following set patterns and repeating them to better yourself. With the ladder laying flat on the floor or flat ground, an athlete moves their feet fast inside and outside the rungs of the ladder with a goal to repeat patterns at faster speed. In some cases, tires are used to do the same to ensure you lift your knees up.

Speed is about covering more ground in a shorter timeframe while agility is about the ability to change directions without losing balance. Balance is about managing your center of gravity and not falling down while doing all this. All this preparation for a sport played out there in real-time! Isn’t it ironic that so much of prepared training goes into a sport that is played in a chaotic manner, not knowing what the next move will be? Any gameplay has the coach and players processing several variables at a given instant. And, perhaps, all this pre-programmed gym work provides the practice and resilience to move at a moment’s notice to tackle a gameplay that can mean the difference between winning and losing!

Don’t the same norms apply in business and life as well? Of course, not everyone is an athlete in real life or practicing with such rigor to be one. However, life and business are real-time as well and there are multiple moves that occur, personalized to you and your role. In order to excel, you need the same acumen, speed and agility to execute and perform. As a result, you need to take advantage of the possibility of training yourself mentally and physically; not to react to certain moves, but to be ready to face any challenge thrown at you. And, this practice comes in the form of being positive, surrounding yourself with positive people, people that encourage you to be at your best. Reading, ruminating, sharing and evolving are all a part of this practice. And, with all this you become a better person today than you were yesterday. There will be days when you will fall down and scrape yourself. And, in those days, your practice will come to your rescue; to dust yourself and stand up again to play at the game of business and life.

Where is your speed ladder to train you for this? How do you hone your technique and focus to do better than the last time you executed? How do you keep a check on your focus and let it not wander off so you extract productivity from every thought and action? How do you rest and rejuvenate between intervals so you do not get burnt out? How do you train agility effectively where a change in direction means absorbing momentum when moving in the altered direction? How do you improve your reaction time to process a stimulus and take a decision and action to respond? Business and life often have blind signals that force a change of pattern in terms of a reaction. How can you forewarn yourself to act accordingly without losing balance?

And, note that a speed ladder you have used now to condition your current self may not be beneficial when you need to achieve higher level demands. It may serve as a warm up, but you need a variation or better tools to fine tune yourself further and achieve more. Perhaps, a personal or professional coach, access to new material and new inputs to change the direction of your business and life for the better!

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