Monday, March 9, 2015

Build capacity & stamina mentally & physically

“Does your program really work?”

Program Attendee: “Does your program really work?”
Program Presenter: “Do you work?”

In a real life McFarland USA saga, the Lindbergh Cross Country Team (aka, the pack is back, the green and gold) built a Dynasty, one year at a time.
Photo Credits, Races and Participants, please TAG.

Growing up the eldest son of a cross country coach built a foundation competition, winning and championships. Hosting these championship teams year after year with team after team left tremendous memories, lessons and expectations about the “right “ way to lead, inspire and grow.  Capacity building formed the basis or quest of each parameter and together, the team with the best built capacities ended up higher.  Physical, mental, academic, as well as cardiovascular, skeletal and molecular capacities are among the obvious as well as latent.  In an effort to not be redundant, some anecdotal and historically relevant points will follow.

Of course the physical realm is the first and typical area of attention. Coaches all expect their players to perform up to their best.  It is the coach’s responsibility to maximize the player’s potential through training, preparation and research based workouts regiments.  Repeating the same workouts the same way learned will only produce the same results.  Aspiring champions should look to other champions, glean and then tune their workouts to reach new goals.  To do what all other teams do and expect different results is a troubling sign.  We attribute that quote to Einstein.

Physical capacity is more than just running more, or doing additional workouts but knowing the purpose, reason and motive behind these workouts often times inspires the participants to exert extra effort, work even harder and widen the gap between them and opposing teams.  At this point of understanding and comprehension the physical becomes the mental.  Sports and competition are so often labeled physical but often the margins are so close and training matched perfectly, a slight mental advantage is all that is necessary. Mental dominance ebbs from many factors but confidence, experience and trust in the leader builds the first step.  Hearing a talk about why these workouts are so important, then competing knowing others is NOT doing those same workouts and recognizing their shortcomings widens the gap even farther.  In cross country for instance, it is the 5th person to cross the finish line that often times determines the team status.  Having confidence throughout the team verses just the number 1 or 2 man demonstrates depth, the beginning of mental capacity and ability to envision or imagine or believe the event could occur.  Believing, hope, faith or persistence knowing there is a finish line, it will be crossed and we can do it faster than any others comes not just on workouts but internal belief in the outcome!

Physical and mental capacities are the obvious few, but underneath or behind them are nuanced variables that must be addressed for champions to reach a new level.  Draft Day and McFarland USA, starring Kevin Costner and Moneyball with Brad Pitt, all infer a back-story prevalent and so vital to the overall success.  In Draft Day, the star knew his goal and had to write it down to remind him of the vision.  In McFarland USA, it was the collective struggle physical that formed the team to unify them so the 7th man rose to 5th man status.  Moneyball reminded us that talent can be bought or grown and uncovered.

These “feel good” movies often time succeed at reminded us to persist but champions are more than just a good feeling.  Winners are not born but must be made, fermented, tested and fired in a crucible long before they stand at the winner’s circle and have their name announced.  The work, effort and practice that goes in before the contest helps determine the final results better than many other indicators but alone, they are not guarantees.

There are many more capacities to address when building champions.  Additionally, physiological, academic, experiential and a true desire and willingness to win all fall under the umbrella of a type mental capacity. These mental capacities are seldom addressed but imperative to successful competition.  Physical preparation and development of a tuned cardiovascular system, anaerobic, aerobic and cellular development and muscle memory form the building blocks but the mental understanding creates the will, drive and passion necessary to win.

Where else can we instill in our wards the big picture?  Do they know why we do something?  Do they know the purpose for our behaviors? Do we believe our efforts will work?  Are they convinced our efforts will work?

Personally, I was at a conference and the presenter was asked by a member of the audience, “Does your program work?”   He replied, “Ma’am, do you work?”  The implication was clear.  Nothing was going to make it happened automatically.  There are no guarantees. 

Capacities: Physical Physiological Psychological Mental Academic Cellular Molecular Anaerobic Aerobic Competition

Please Tag the runners and Photo Credits in the heading.

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