Biomotor Threshold


Last year I read Malcolm Gladwell’s excellent book Outliers. In it he talks about success and some of our (mis) conceptions. At one point he talks about IQ and says, Over the years, an enormous amount of research has been done in an attempt to demonstrate how a performance on an IQ test… translates to real life success. He then goes on to explain some scoring ranges (e.g., people below 70 are often considered mentally disabled while 115 may be needed to succeed at a competitive graduate school program).

He goes on to warn us, but there’s a catch. the relationship between success and IQ works only to a certain point. Once someone has reached an IQ of somewhere around 120, having additional IQ points doesn’t seem to translate into any measurable real-world advantage.

I thought about this and understand what he means. It easy to get caught up with numbers. They’re tangible – It’s easy to say, you’ve improved this much in SLJ or the Clean to an athlete. It’s hard to say exactly how much an athlete has improved mentally or technically, So this pushes us into a constant quest to stimulate-adapt. As Dan Pfaff has been saying for years, sometimes we need to let things stabilize. This is when we often see rapid improvement in the actual competitive performance.

I have gotten caught up in the biomotor numbers game in the past, at my own peril. Numbers matter, trust me – it’s hard to run under 11.00 with a 30-fly of 3.30. But how much better is 2.92 vs. 2.97? There are other factors that come into play that we must consider.

Kebba Tolbert

Kebba Tolbert

Sprints - Hurdles - Jumps Coach at Harvard
Kebba Tolbert is in his third season as the women’s sprints/hurdles and horizontal jumps coach for Harvard in 2013-14 and second as associate head coach of the squad. Tolbert has coached multiple All-Americans and National Champions. .
Kebba Tolbert
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