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11/14/2012 8:41:51 AM -
Lessons from Sandy II

Most of us came to this site for the same reason: because we wanted to learn how to train properly and cut through all the bullshit we’ve seen elsewhere. By definition, we were looking to learn from the best because we wanted to be the best. We’ve read all the articles, we’ve followed all the logs, and we’ve developed systems for how we can become better athletes. If we’re coaches, we’ve taken these systems and used them with success with our players.

We’ve also seen several people on the site become better at things outside of the training realm, and the most obvious example of this is business. I’ve watched what Dave Tate has done with EliteFTS over the past almost fifteen years, and at this point, he likely knows as much about business as he does about powerlifting and training. When you get good at business, you start making more money. When you start making more money, you start taking on more responsibility, and now you’ve got your family, your coworkers, your business associates and even your competition depending on you to behave in a certain way.

When this happens, provided you’re an organized person, you fall into a routine. You develop systems for what you need to do, and when you wake up in the morning, you plug all the unpredictable shit that happens throughout your day into your system in order to make it predictable and organized. You go on, day after day and week after week, implementing your systems, making money, and doing all the shit you need to do in order to meet your responsibilities.

This goes on for a long time until “shit” happens. You take a hit. In this case, I’m talking about a completely disruptive and catastrophic life experience that’s beyond your control, and my example of this is something like “Superstorm” Sandy. One day you’re commuting back and forth to work and taking care of business, and then the next day, you’re homeless and carless, with six feet of raw sewage sitting in the middle of your living room.

Now, I have no idea what to do in that situation. I don’t think anyone does. Sometimes life gives you shit where there’s no immediate solution and all you can do is try to maintain a positive attitude and push through it. Sometimes life even gives you shit that you can’t push through—stuff that completely stops you in your tracks and wrecks everything. And again, this pertains to everything we do—from shit that happens in the context of a team’s season to devastating training injuries.

People have been through this stuff since the beginning of time, so there’s a blueprint for how to manage this sort of thing, but it’s obviously not easy—and the solutions, when major problems first hit you, aren’t always apparent. What I’m thinking about today has nothing to do with “solutions.” Instead, it’s more of a continuation of what I wrote about yesterday with regard to something I think we should focus more on, as both coaches and people.

Every so often, I think we should ask ourselves what we would do if “the worst” were to happen. As coaches, we need to think, before a season even starts, about what we’d do, and how we’d act, if we lost all our key players to injury. Do you have guys prepared to step in and play? Are you ready to change your scheme to compensate for the fact that you still need to win even though you don’t have a guy who can run the more complicated stuff? Is your team ready to handle the emotional void that always happens when leaders go down? Are you ready for that?

If your city gets hit with a major natural disaster, do you have an escape route? Do you have a flashlight, a radio, and a supply of batteries nearby? Does your car have a full tank of gas? Is your cell phone fully charged? Would you need to defend yourself from looters? Do you have a parachute?

Obviously, as coaches, workers, and “normal” people, we don’t want to be paranoid lunatics, but after looking at what’s happened to so many thousands of people in the New York area, I think it’s a productive exercise to set up these kinds of safety nets in every area of our lives.

Angry Coach

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