Sir Dave Brailsford has twice been voted BBC sports personality of the year coach, masterminding 14 medals at the Bejing Olympics and 12 at the London Olympics.
Beyond the Olympics he has developed the first ever British win in the Tour De France in its 100 year history.
Sir Dave Brailsford puts much of his success down to finding marginal gains, which his athletes can exploit. When you consider that there is only a 2-3% difference in performance with top-level athletes then its clear that these marginal gains can make a significant difference.
But what is it that we can learn from an elite level coach that trains and develops cyclists?
Small things do count!
Bicycle racing has many elements to it team tactics, endurance, speed, bike handling and aerodynamics.
Dave Brailsford and his team recognised that with a flat course for the 2011 World Championships that aerodynamics would give a considerable advantage. In light of this Brailsford team introduced a small but considerable change, they covered up the vents on the cycling helmet that Mark Cavendish wore. Some cycling helmet manufacturers claim that an aero helmet (no vents) can give a 17 second advantage over a 40km distance. This contributed to Mark Cavendish being the first Briton to win the World Championship Road Race since 1965 and introducing a trend of wearing vent covered helmets in regular road races.
The small things count, marginal gains as Dave Brailsford says. So attending a meeting, listening to worship music or a preach in the car to work, praying on the walk to school or even just thinking about a scripture when your gardening, these are all marginal gains. This is because the little things you do towards developing your spiritual life allow you to stay connected to God. This is important because you need quantity time with God to get to the quality time. The more you communicate with God the more likely you will have that pivotal moment where you connect with Him and have an impactful encounter. So don’t despise the small things and remember God see’s your heart and when you attempt to connect with him however small it feels to you, its important to God.
Focus on the ‘Process’ not the ‘Result’
Another significant detail is that Dave Brailsford would never commit on how many medals his team would win. He would always point to the ‘process’ and explain that his teams had worked hard in their training and if they produced the same results in each race then he would be pleased, whatever the outcome.
This is key to his team’s success, this released athletes from any pressure to win a medal/title or produce a display beyond what they knew they were capable of producing in their training. He always made the teams focus on the process trusting this would take care of the result.
Christians can get obsessed with the ‘result’ be that result being a life partner, a particular job they had worked hard for or a certain lifestyle they feel they deserve.
However its better to focus on the ‘process’ of where you are, continue to do the small things, praying, reading & listening to scripture, being in fellowship, etc. We need to trust God with the result and focus on the ‘process’ that God has put us in. The best example of this is the story of Joseph, he is given a vision of greatness but then seems to stumble through a series of misfortunes over a number of years in search of the ‘result’ God promised him. The morale of the story is summed up in Genesis 50:20 “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.”
Joseph perceived his trials as evil against him but we can look with hindsight and see it was a ‘process’ that God put him through requiring him to be faithful in each aspect of his journey to come to the ‘result’ he was promised and the effect it had on others.
I would encourage you to trust God for the ‘result’ or outcome you desire be what that may and continue to be faithful in giving, being part of your church, living a life of integrity and God will take care of the rest.
SIR DAVE BRAILSFORD
WRITTEN BY HENRY MASSEY
Henry is a member of Hope Church, has his own business www.healthwellbeing.myflpbiz.com
And also has a blog about cycling www.bikefoolish.com