Facts vs. Opinions



By Mike Gillette - TITLE Board of Advisors

How To Improve Your Boxing Training Program

“Every man has a right to his own opinion, but no man has a right to be wrong in his facts…” - Bernard Baruch (former adviser to Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D. Roosevelt) 

"I perform my push-ups fast for muscular endurance…” - some athlete

"I perform my push-ups fast to gain muscle size…” - some other athlete

"We perform our push-ups fast to build strength…” - some coach

As illustrated above, when it comes to training, there are opinions and there are facts. Which means that the most import mystery for you to solve is figuring out which one is which. This is because we tend to do things that we like to do. And we usually like those things which are familiar. So, all too often, an individual athlete or coach defaults to doing things which are familiar in lieu of things which could be much more productive.

This is not necessarily a bad thing. After all, what you’re doing might be working for you. But is it? How do you know? Do you test your methods or do you just “put in time”? In other words, are you basing your training on opinions or facts? I often use the expression, “Measurement eliminates argument.” If you don’t test your methods, you’re not actually training as an athlete with a valid athletic process. Without testing, you are simply “acting like” an athlete.

An effective training program must be premised around two key elements: a ‘process-orientation’ and ‘methodological metrics’. A ‘process-orientation’ focuses on perpetual improvement. These can be improvements in strategy, technique or some other facet of overall athleticism. These are the building blocks upon which you can achieve eventual victories.

But many times coaches and athletes gravitate towards an ‘outcome-orientation’. Wins and losses. Wins are desirable outcomes, no question about it. But you can’t always win. Does that mean that you or your team are not making progress? Depending on your circumstances, a sixth-place finish in a tournament could be a fantastic achievement. If you were launching a brand-new team or club and only looking at ‘wins’ (outcomes) as your barometer of success, you’d be looking at the wrong end of the developmental spectrum.

Without going on a tangent about the variables of things you can’t control as a coach or athlete, your time is better spent, particularly with a new program or one which is in “rebuilding mode”, by making your athletes better. And you cannot, strategically at least, make your athletes better without ‘methodological metrics’.

Methodological metrics is a term which refers to the things in your training program which are the sub-categories of overall performance; increases in strength, speed, work-capacity, etc.  There are two reasons why performance variables such as these are good to focus on. The first reason is that they are all measurable. In fact, they’re all rather easy to measure so long as measurement is built into the process. Secondly, all of these sub-goals contribute to an outcome which is completely under the control of both coach or athlete: improved performance.

Make no mistake, winning is great. Really great. But for coaches or athletes, the weather, judges, referees, jet-lag, injuries and a myriad of other variables will never be under our control.  So focusing solely on the wins and losses (outcomes) will provide only a partial glimpse of your overall progress.  But your own efforts, intelligently applied (and monitored with regular testing) will lead to the long-term goal of getting “better”. And you can control the process of bettering yourself. You just need to have a process by which to do it.


Mike Gillette’s life story reads like an action-adventure novel. A life that includes time spent as an Army Paratrooper, SWAT Commander, Government Counter-Terrorism Expert, Member of the Martial Arts Masters Hall of Fame, Bodyguard to Fortune 500 Executives and Motivational Strongman whose feats have been documented by Guinness World Records and Ripley’s Believe it or Not.

Mike is a relentless student of the factors that allow people to perform at their maximum. His quest to live the motto “strong mind, smart body” has led him to many different disciplines. Mike’s research has produced a body of knowledge which has been put to use by high-risk professionals, high-level athletes and ordinary people who want to experience the power of extraordinary performance.

To learn more about Mike, click here.

To view the video series on Mental Training from TITLE Boxing/Mike Gillette, click here.

TITLE Board of Advisors:

A running series of blog posts collected by TITLE Boxing through our relationships with individuals inside the sport. Fighters, trainers, managers, dieticians, referees and more have offered their words, and we bring them to you here.

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