Dependence on the Wind and Waves to Sail and Surf
Of all the sports that are highly dependent on environmental conditions, surfing and sailing are surely among the top. It doesn’t matter how good your boat is or how much skill you have, without wind, sailing is nearly impossible. Likewise, elite surfers could not take advantage of their immense surfing skills without some decent waves. Continue reading Wind, Waves and the Spirit’s Power
Dominance Tends to Get its Way
Having grown up playing sports, and having watched years of recess where other kids are growing up playing sports, I am familiar with the social dynamics that often occur when people get together to play sports. If I watch kids play any form of recess ball long enough, sooner or later I’m going to see an occasion where the best athlete more or less takes over. First he mandates which sport everyone should play during recess, then somehow he gets the most say so on who’s going to play on which team, he assigns positions for the players on his team, and if it’s football, he makes up the plays, and finally, since there is no referee available, he gets the final word on decisions that a referee would make in a game. This is an example of the human tendency to dominate, and the human tendency to allow others to get their way if we perceive that they are better or more powerful than us. Continue reading Dominant or Servant?
Lessons that a Great Powerlifting Coach Learned
Perhaps the greatest powerlifting coach in the world is a man by the name of Louie Simmons. A person would be hard pressed to find any other powerlifting coach who has trained more champions and world record holders than Louie. One of the reasons that Louie has been successful is his willingness to rethink what it takes to get progressively stronger. One of the most popular notions among people who train with weights is that the heavier you train, the stronger you will become. After many years of coaching and lifting himself, Louie began to question if this was really true or not. Continue reading When Less is More
A Trial that Becomes a Blessing
A highly successful basketball skills coach by the name of Gannon Baker grew up with a passion to play basketball. He constantly practiced, but at one point as a twelve year old boy, he broke a finger on his right hand. This was unfortunate because he was right handed and he needed his right hand in order to practice shooting. On the other hand, he was very fortunate that he couldn’t use his right hand because the thought of not practicing was never an option for someone with the determination that Gannon had. This meant that Gannon had to use his left hand for shooting until his right hand healed. Gannon didn’t let up a bit and practiced as much as ever with his left hand. The result was that when Gannon’s right hand finally healed, he could shoot with either hand. The whole scenario made Gannon a better player who now had extra shooting skills that he didn’t have previous to that point. Continue reading Problem or Opportunity?
It’s been several years since Florence Griffith Joyner (known as Flo Jo) tore up the track in women’s sprint races. She still holds the women’s world record for the 100 meter dash with a time of 10.49 seconds. In order to run the speed she was able to achieve, you would think that she really had to push herself, which of course she did. But there’s a way in which she learned how to push herself that doesn’t come naturally; she had to run as fast as she could, but still stay relaxed. A quote from Flo Jo states, “For a long time I thought that being relaxed meant you were running slow, but it’s the contrary when you’re fighting against your body instead of letting go. Relaxation was the key.” In other words, she had to learn how to exert herself without strain. Almost all great sprinters have had to learn how to do this. It feels totally contrary to your natural instincts if you are trying to run as fast as possible, but it is the best way to achieve top running speed. Continue reading Relaxed Effort
Deciding Who to Imitate
Imitation is wonderful when the right thing is being imitated, but it has a negative effect when the wrong thing is being imitated. What completely amazes me is what causes humans to imitate the things they imitate. As a former teacher and coach, I can say that life would be much easier in these professions if imitation always worked the way I think that it should work, but it doesn’t. Continue reading The Power of Imitation
Success and Fun Come from Repeatability
During the years when I played sports, I learned that it was much more fun to have the ability to perform a skill with consistent excellence than it was to only occasionally do that same skill the right way. It was much more fun to go out and see my punts take off like a missile over and over again than it was to kick as hard as I could only to have it come off my foot wrong and flutter through the air. It’s way more fun make shots over and over again in basketball than it is to keep on missing. Rolling the ball right into the pocket is much more enjoyable in bowling than seeing the ball veer off to the left or the right. I can remember being jealous of one of my friends who could consistently hit a golf ball from here to forever on a driving range. In each of these examples, the repeatability to perform a sports skill in a desirable way was the key to being a successful player and having fun. Continue reading Repeatability
Key verse: Revelation 21:5 “He who was seated on the throne said, “’I am making everything new!’”
Sometimes you have to start over and even go backwards in order to move forwards again. This has become quite apparent to me in sports. Recently I heard that Tiger Woods was making changes to his golf swing. Even the best golfers or batters in baseball may have to start over at some point with a new swing. In basketball, I have experienced the concept of starting over by completely reconstructing a new shot form that was different from the way I had been shooting for years. In the end, it was the best thing I could have ever done in order to improve my shot. But there was a time period where I would start over and not be satisfied with my shot, and then start over with a new shot technique and still not like it. I ended up starting over several times before I found the type of shot that felt good and was repeatable and worked. During this process, I often felt like I was going backwards because I had to unlearn what I had already learned, and what I had already learned seemed to be fighting with the new shooting style that I was learning until the new shooting form started to become a habit that my body adapted to. Eventually, it paid off. Continue reading Starting Over
Several years ago I read a book called the Talent Code by Daniel Coyle. Within this book, the author discussed the seemingly mysterious phenomenon of what he referred to as talent hotbeds. A talent hotbed is a geographical location or an institution that keeps on producing people who would be considered to be among the best at what they do in circles of high performance. In his book, Daniel Coyle refers to talent hotbeds in relationship to different skills and often referred to sports. Malcolm Gladwell discusses a similar phenomenon in his book, Outliers, and another book called, Talent is Overrated, addresses the issue as well. The question is, why does a given location or institution constantly produce talent and performance that is superior to the majority of the rest of the world? Continue reading Talent Hotbeds and Spiritual Hotspots