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4/11/2013 4:26:42 PM -
Work: An Attitude

I saw a video posted on Facebook today that got me thinking about a few things. The video showed a kid—he was maybe about 11 or 12—doing basketball drills on a court in his driveway. It was posted by his father, who was obviously—and justifiably—proud that his son was working on his game by himself. So far, so good.

I started reading the comments under the video, and all of them were—again, justifiably—complimentary toward the kid. And to be honest, he was actually pretty good. He’s probably a good player, and if he keeps doing what he’s doing, he’ll do well. Everything was fine to this point.

Then, however, the father started crowing a little in response to the comments, saying stuff like, “Nobody works harder than my kid! No 12 year old in America is working like this!”

This, I think, is where a lot of people go wrong when it comes to athletic preparation—and lots of other things, too. I know it’s happened to me when I’ve been overly impressed with some of the teams I’ve coached. You get in a mode where you’re locked into your little world, and you can’t fathom anyone else doing the things you’re doing. This father admires the work his son is putting in. Hell, I admire it, too. He looks like a great kid, and I hope he is.

The problem, however, is that they’re in for a rude awakening if they think he’s the only 12 year old working on his game in the driveway until after the sun goes down.

The same holds true for coaches, because I’ve made this mistake, as well. There have been times where I’ve been so proud of my teams for getting through what we’ve put in front of them that I’ve forgotten that we’re not the only team in America—or in our own league, for that matter—that had a good practice that day. I think the term for this is myopia—a condition in which you can see things clearly when they’re close up, but they get blurry when they’re further away.

I’ve done it in the weight room as a strength coach—especially years ago, when I’d bet you we were the only team in our league that knew the value of a power rack and had both sleds and a glute-ham raise. This stuff is obviously good to have, but I deluded myself into thinking it was worth not just wins, but total domination for our kids. I even used to say shit like, “The hamstrings are your speed muscles, and other teams in the league don’t even know how to build them. You guys are gonna be faster than everyone, because nobody’s doing the stuff you’re doing.”

And I believed this all with every fiber of my being. With our “high-tech” training methods, I assumed there was no way other teams would ever be able to hang with us on the field. Somehow, however, we actually lost from time to time.

If anyone used to watch the World Series of Poker, Phil Helmuth was a top player that used to make everyone laugh because he would get pissed whenever someone made a stupid move but won a hand. He would curse at the injustice of making all the right moves, but still losing.

I was basically the Phil Hellmuth of strength coaches. I’d be like, “Yeah, that team just beat us 35-0, but they really suck because they don’t drag sleds and they don’t have a glute-ham raise.”

So, going back to the father here, I think we get off track when we start impressing ourselves with how hard we’re working, or how hard our teams are working. That’s because the people I know who’ve had real success are always afraid there’s someone out there who’s better, and who’s working harder. That’s not to say you can’t develop confidence through perfect preparation and making sure you’re ready for anything, because you absolutely can, but when you start thinking you’re the only one in the world who’s out there doing what you’re doing at that exact moment—you’re not only wrong, but you’re doing yourself a huge disservice.

There’s ALWAYS someone out there working harder than you. It doesn’t matter what we’re talking about here: there can only be one, and odds are, you’re not the guy. Even if you ARE the guy, you still have to work and practice and prepare as though that guy’s out there waiting to beat the shit out of you at your sport. That’s how you become the guy, not by patting yourself on the back and assuming you’ve done more than everyone else.

You haven’t.




Hi Molly...Jim's right,
Angry Coach


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