Becoming an Athlete

This is a blog that I originally wrote in 2008, no need to reinvent the wheel, it is just as relevant today as when I wrote six years ago.

Yesterday during training I had a some time to step back and observe the athletes, not just my athletes but the football players and wrestlers who were in the weight room at the same time. On my drive home from workout, about twenty minutes, I reflected on what I saw with more focus on my Volleyball players. (Daily that is my time to reflect on the just completed workout and begin planning for the next session). I realized that what I saw unfold before me yesterday was the growth process of an athlete. In my group there are ninth graders just starting the journey to rising seniors who will be play at a high level in college. They all workout, why don’t they end up in the same place? Well we know that many are called and few are chosen – Right? Actually wrong – many are called and few choose. Yes you read it correctly not many choose to excel.

It is clear to me after all these years there are three stages in the growth process into becoming a real athlete.

First Stage – You do the workout. Nothing more, nothing less, you get tired, you are satisfied. At this stage anything you do makes you better, so you see some improvement.

Second Stage – You realize you must do something more to continue to improve so now you work the workout. You put more into it mentally and physically. You realize just doing it is not enough, you must have good technique and concentrate, you must push yourself.

Third Stage – This is where the big dogs play – you have train the workout. That is a whole new level of commitment and concentration. You must prepare mentally and physically in advance for the workout. You have be at your best everyday. In my experience this is a select group. They see the results, the fruits of their labor because they consciously choose to train the workout

In many respects the growth of a coach reflects the same three growth stages. I think we all choose where we want to be. To be the best means being uncomfortable all the time. Making sacrifices and doing things no one else is willing to do. Where do you choose to be? Chances are where you choose to be will be reflected in the athletes you coach.

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