September 19, 2014

“You will never be good enough…”

Last night as I was coaching a group of fairly advanced kids that have been in our program for 5 or 6 years, I was getting frustrated because they were executing the movement (an agility drill) with near perfect form, but they lacked the intensity to really push their speed. We then progressed to a sprint endurance drill on the Woodway Speedboard Treadmill where they had to sprint at their fastest speed (15-17 miles per hour) and repeat this every 20 seconds until their speed dropped off by 10%. For instance if their max speed was 15.8 they had to keep all sprints above 14.2. Once they dropped below 14.2 they would walk for 60 seconds to recover…

Many of them began pacing themselves to just keep it above 90% instead of trying to hit a new best. When I continued to “forcefully encourage” them to run faster, one of them commented that they were staying above 90% and I snapped back, “That’s not good enough!” They put more effort into the next sprint and hit a new best speed. At that point I reiterated, “Good, but you can still go faster!” They tried again and 2 of them ran new personal bests! I repeated my comments!

At this point, one of them stopped and said, “I just ran my fastest ever! Isn’t that good enough?!?!”

Being a very passionate coach, I snapped back, “You will never be good enough!” And all the emotion drained out of the player… I probably should have phrased my comments a little differently… So at this point, I stopped the drill and got everyone’s attention.

I don’t care what your speed is! I don’t care if you are the slowest on your team or the fastest person in our program. To quote Beethoven, “The bar has not been set for an aspiring talent that says, this high, and no higher.” Once you move well, once you are strong, once you understand what is being asked of you, you have to push harder. Every rep, every set, every exercise and every day is a chance for you to push the bar vertically! You will never be “good enough” for me to say “Great Job! Now that you have met my expectations you can stop and relax.”

When they started the next set of this drill, many of them hit a new best and ALL of them looked as if they were sprinting with the intention to be the absolute best they can possibly be.

In the future, Run to Win. I will work on coaching in such a way that brings out the positive verses focusing on the negative. But I will not let you relax, and I will not let you think that you are “good enough”. The bar is constantly changing. Constantly being raised. That is why we write down the best time, speed, distance and effort on the board each day. We do this because that is the bar that has set that day, that is your goal. It is now your job to set a new bar and push everyone to follow you. RUN to WIN.

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