There are very few world champions that really impress me and maybe that's attributable to my limited following of sports. 2 champs that are impressive are Kelly Slater of surfing fame and George St. Pierre of the mixed martial arts arena. These individuals have almost a superhuman knowledge in their respective sports that adds a level of advantage that one can argue is unmatched.
Getting back to the plan and with the consideration of their extensive knowledge, I understand the need to have a plan however, to what degree is a plan adequate? Is, "I am going to work really hard and be a world champ," a plan? How about - "I'm just gonna go in there and kick his ass?" Witnessing these 2 champions and discovering the degree to which they scrutinize every aspect, I don't think so. The saying, "Leave no stone unturned," comes to mind.
In interviews and articles with Kelly Slater, he is able to dissect a surf break to the tee. He speaks of winds, swell direction, tides, seasons, storms, the annual revenue of the Handi Mart across the street, and other factors that I would have never thought would play a role in the way a surf spot is breaking. And yet, he is no one-trick pony, that's for sure. He can relay this type of information on dozens of surf spots on each of the continents (in multiple universes). He also works with his board shapers and brings awkward looking boards to world class competitions like Pipeline Masters, that baffle his competitors, audience, and media. He considers who his competition is and how they surf (the mental aspect). Post competition (and subsequent win of the Pipeline Masters), when asked about his plan and why he did certain things, he may have well been speaking Greek. He had an plan comprehensive of factors that none of his competitors even considered, including being patient, counting waves, and etc.
GSP is no different. In a post fight interview, he spoke of wrestling with Penn in order to tighten up Penn's shoulder muscles (and removing Penn's boxing abilities), not grappling in order to avoid (Penn's) knees (to GSP's face), and ultimately breaking Penn down. GSP also praised Penn's reaction abilities stating that his reaction is at the top of the MMA world and that he is able to react before an opponent can finish an act. He spoke of the brain being a muscle that needs to reset and while Penn's ability to react is unrivaled, his ability to reset was slow. GSP played on this weakness by implementing fakes and then acting. I am no mixed martial arts expert nor am I a current practitioner but, I have never heard of these things before and obviously would not have considered them.
These athletes are exemplary in that they are amazing athletes with amazing talents, amazing knowledge, and truly amazing plans. Moral of the story? Plan and plan well. Congratulations to the 2 world champions in their recent victories.