This final step in the ongoing, judicious process of training is increasing intensity.

As discussed previously, the decision to increase intensity should come only after the requisite criteria for mechanics and consistency are met.

This is absolutely necessary.

Before we begin to increase the intensity, we must know our athletes have some ability to make corrections if mechanics break down. In order to effectively increase intensity, we must first understand the factors that directly influence it.

In short, the athlete must consider loading, repetitions, and speed/time.

A common mistake made by novices is trying to push all of these variables at once, too early in the process. This seldom produces a favorable result.

For many athletes, jumping from the learning phase of a skill right into a multivariable increase in intensity is a recipe for significant technical breakdown – That may undermine much of the hard work that was required to build good technique in the first place.

Choosing one variable to manipulate at a time, observing the results, and adjusting accordingly will allow the athlete to experience a degree of success that spurs enthusiasm and more consistent progress over time.

How long is this path to adding intensity for athletes? The answer is that it is relative to each athlete.

There is no concrete, one-size-fits-all formula we can give for this concept. It is an art, formed of deliberately and intelligently layering in variables, studying carefully how an athlete responds, and adjusting accordingly.

Whether it takes two weeks or one year, holding inviolably to this charter of mechanics, consistency, and intensity will serve everybody’s best.

It is how we minimize risk and maximize efficacy and efficiency over the long term.

The compulsion to move quickly past the fundamentals is the “novice’s curse” for the athlete.