From 1908 to 2004 total number of gold medals the British cycling team had won was 1.
The Tour de France? No wins in 110 years.
In fact, the team was so bad that some of the top bike manufacturers refused to sell to them because they thought it would be bad for business.
Enter Coach Dave Brailsford.
Just five years after Brailsford ‘s arrival, the British Cycling team destroyed the competition at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, taking home an astounding 60 percent of the gold medals available. Four years later, when the Olympic Games came to London, they set nine Olympic records and seven world records.
That same year, Bradley Wiggins became the first British cyclist to win the Tour de France. The next year, his teammate Chris Froome won the race, and he would go on to win again in 2015, 2016, and 2017, giving the British team five Tour de France victories in six years.
During the ten-year span from 2007 to 2017, British cyclists won 178 world championships and 66 Olympic or Paralympic gold medals and captured 5 Tour de France victories in what is widely regarded as the most successful run in cycling history.
What was Brailsford’s secret?
That was his secret.
Marginally improve by 1%.
He took a look at the entire British cycling operation and changed tiny little things instead of coming up with a ridiculous training regime. It wasn’t just about getting 1% better at actually riding though.
Brailsford improved that daily lives of the riders in marginal ways as well. They studied the most efficient ways to wash their hands to avoid getting sick. They studied sleep habits and determined the best way for each rider to get quality sleep.
A common misconception about success in life (training, business, etc) is that there needs to be some big, emotional, dramatic breakthrough. We can probably thank Hollywood for that. Realistically though, we need to embrace marginal gains.
Train a tiny bit harder, sleep a little more, park at the end of the lot and get a few more steps. Eat just a little bit healthier. All of these tiny improvements will grow and I guarantee that if you continue on with the 1% mindset, you won’t even recognize yourself in 6 months.
You’ll find that the system you put in place will move you towards your end goal much faster than abruptly changing everything and hoping that it will stick.