By Jimmy Warden
“Alright, gents. Let’s line up on the end line for concentration sprints. The first few reps we’ll be going 50% capacity, focusing on technique, driving the legs, and pushing that stride out. After that, we’ll go 75% while still applying great technique. Nothing changes except our output speed. The last reps will be a full sprint, but don’t lose your form! Alright, gents, ready?” The whistle blew and the race for technique was on, at 50% of course.
That was a sound bite of a lacrosse practice when I was in college. My coach, Neal Anderson, is an incredible man in every sense of the word. I’ve learned so much from him, and I don’t know how I could ever repay him. The knowledge he shared with me about performance, flow state, mental reframing, mindfulness, visualization, breathwork, and brain waves is something I will forever be grateful for. The 50, 75, 100 principle is additional learning that I also owe to Neal.
What is the 50, 75, 100 Principle
The 50, 75, 100 principle is a term that stems from the concentration sprinting exercises we did during our practices. Although we ran sprints many times in our lives as lacrosse players, we didn’t know the proper techniques for how to sprint. Enter Coach Anderson.
As all great teachers do, he assumed nothing and taught us everything. From how to catch and throw, how to breathe through our nose, to how to sprint, there wasn’t much that he didn’t cover. With all of the new learning we did, there was one idea that resurfaced over and over. This was the 50, 75, 100 principle.
He explained the concept in terms of how to learn something new. It usually occurs in the physical realm. When someone is doing something that’s new to them, they should do it at half speed with great technique. Once the half-speed form is perfected, they should move to 75% effort with the same mechanics. After that, it’s time to move to full blast with the best form there is!
Why the gradual build-up?
The reason that gradual build-up is essential can be boiled down to one term: technique. When a person does something, they tend to do it immediately at full speed, but that’s when form breaks down and leads to mishaps. These mishaps can be minor injuries, major injuries, unnecessary mistakes, and even poor performance. When the proper ways are refined, the individual has a higher chance of reaching their potential because they can trust their technique when doing something at full capacity.
Thanks for the sports advice, lax bro. How will this help me in real life?
This principle can be applied to any new skill or idea: reading new words, writing in a different style, learning about real estate, or anything in between. The only change is how the principle is applied.
The reading and writing examples are straightforward. When you’re reading a word you can’t instantly pronounce, you read it slower by decoding the letter-sound patterns that make up its syllables. After your 50% run, you try it at 75%. Then you read it at your 100% reading speed to hear if it sounds correct. Similarly in writing, if you’re trying out a style you’re not accustomed to, the writing will naturally be a bit slow; it will be clunky at times. After spending more time practicing the technique, the writing will become a little more fluent. Gradually, you won’t worry about the technique because you’ve practiced it enough. At that point, you just have to focus on the content of the writing because you’ve mastered the style.
Real estate is a different story because that’s a knowledge base, not a learned skill. But the principle can be used nonetheless. If you know nothing about real estate and you want to know more, start by learning its basics. You could even watch a Youtube video about real estate basics at half speed to absorb the knowledge! Once you’ve understood the basics, it’s time for the next tier of knowledge. And after that, you can get into the finite, intricate details of real estate to become an expert.
So, does the principle actually work?
In my humble opinion, yes, the principle works. I have used the 50, 75, 100 principle many times in my physical and intellectual endeavors and have had success. I’ve also seen it work wonders with the people that I teach and coach. Breaking down a skill or knowledge into smaller pieces allows the practitioner to experience incremental success. This incremental success builds confidence, and confidence builds skills and self-esteem.
If you’re not sold, give it a try for yourself. Who knows, maybe you’ll be convinced after your own exploration!