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Process vs Outcome: Which is More Important?

With the first wave of Bootcamp testing finished at FSP and the EADP testing right around the corner, I wanted to take a minute to address some concerns and questions regarding test results and their relationship to the training we do on a daily/ weekly/ monthly basis.

To start off, let’s talk a little bit about process vs. outcome. An outcome is essentially the end result. It’s a grade on a paper, it’s a win, it’s a loss. These are merely the end results of a process. When you’re training or developing yourself, it’s important to remember that the outcome isn’t always the most desirable result. Of course we want to achieve our goals whether it’s to decrease body fat or increase jump height. It’s more important to keep things in perspective.

A process is the means at which we arrive at the outcome. It’s making sure your spine is aligned properly during jump training or making sure you make the right reads on defensive systems play.

As a coach, I’m more interested in the process than short-term outcomes–and I believe other coaches should be as well. When you drive home foundational movement patterns and skills and slowly progress them over time, you’re setting clients and athletes up for long-term success. Mistakes will be made along the way, but it’s all part of learning. Over time, performing exercises and drills with precision, habits will change for the better.

In the short term, it’s possible to run a little slower than you did on your previous 40-yard-dash. It’s possible to weigh a little more than you did 5 weeks ago. Hanging your hat on these short-term outcomes will drive you crazy. There a myriad of various things that can skew test results ranging from nutrient timing, sleep patterns, scheduling, etc. In our busy lives it’s all but impossible to control for all of these variables. Occasionally, performing a pushup test using more efficient form can lead to fewer reps being completed simply because you’re not overcompensating with a certain muscle group. Try to stay in the “here-and-now.” Focus on your daily workout routine. Focus on the process and trust in the coaching staff to get you where you need to go.

Long-term outcomes are only indicators of true improvement. The most important improvements are difficult to quantify with standardized physical testing. Ask yourself, “do I feel better? Am I moving better? Am I performing at a higher rate?” If the answer to these questions is ‘yes’, then you have nothing to worry about. Eventually, your test scores will reflect that. It takes time to produce stable improvements in health and performance. Just remember to be patient and tap the sign on the way out of FSP to remind yourself that,


Aaron Runner, MS, CSCS

Author: Aaron Runner, MS, CSCS

Aaron Runner is the Owner of Full-Stride Performance in Roswell, GA and a former NCAA Strength & Conditioning Coach.

Aaron Runner, MS, CSCS

Aaron Runner, MS, CSCS View All

Aaron Runner is the Owner of Full-Stride Performance in Roswell, GA and a former NCAA Strength & Conditioning Coach.

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