First off – this applies to fitness as well as to tactical proficiency, which I’ll get to.
I recently set personal goals to try to hit running race goals from my glory days as a teenager and college student. I tore my ACL last summer, began running again this winter, and ended my recent mile time trial early when I realized that I was on track for an abysmal performance.
After reflecting on my post-surgery training, I realized that I had focused entirely on speed/interval workouts and high-end aerobic runs. I concluded that the problem was that I no longer have a solid aerobic base that comes from months (and years) of slower, conversation-paced runs (and hikes), and no matter how much anaerobic speedwork that I do, I have no foundation to reach my actual potential. So now I am returning to long-slow-distance runs, which is making much more of a difference.
This experience reminded me of what Max and Scott have said in training, which is that the “pros” in the tactical world (i.e., SF units) have simply mastered the basics better than everyone else. Their special weapons and techniques add to their capability, but those are more of the icing on the cake.
By constantly practicing the basics over long periods of time, we build and establish most of our potential and proficiency. That goes for fitness, tactical ability, and as the article says, even creative juices and learning ability. So don’t fall asleep or stop maintaining these things. And try not to tear ligaments.