Week 1 – Part deux

Continuing the catch up…

Day 4 : The Big Three

Control your perceptions.
Direct your actions properly.
Willingly accept what’s outside your control.

That’s all we need to do. – The Daily Stoic

…or in my own words :

  • Know what’s in front of you
  • Do the right thing.
  • Accept what you can’t change.

That’s it.

Day 5 : Clarify your Intentions

“Let all your efforts be directed to something, let it keep that end in view. It’s not activity that disturbs people, but false conceptions of things that drive them mad.” – Seneca, On Traquility of Mind, 12.5

Have a precise endpoint in mind. Chances are, you’ll start distracting yourself with plenty of new goals that you trick yourself into believing are relevant to your intended endpoint. Set up feedback loops and checkpoints for yourself to help ensure you are staying on track.

Do you have metrics you can depend on to let you know if you’re getting stronger? Getting faster? Lasting longer? Are you checking up on them regularly? If you aren’t, how do you know your training has been working? How do you know you haven’t been wasting your time over the last micro/meso/macrocycle?

You can’t.

Day 6 : Where, Who, What and Why

…gun to their head, most people couldn’t give much in the way of a substantive answer. Could you? Have you taken the time to get clarity about who you are and what you stand for? Or are you too busy chasing unimportant things, mimicking the wrong influences, and following disappointing or unfulfilling or nonexistent paths? – The Daily Stoic

It is scary to be introspective (“what if I find out I’m not the person I think I am?!”), but the rewards are well worth it. Clarity here will make every decision from now on easier, because you need only align your choices with your essence.

It is incredibly important for everybody to know what they stand for. On days that you feel unsure about what to do, or where you are going, you can refer to your personal Commander’s Intent.

I do tend to align with Rorschach’s words, though I sometimes wonder if he’s too rigid. I guess I’m willing to say I’m a reluctant, high-inertia moral relativist, whereas somebody who doesn’t know who they are would swing their personal pendulum more (too?) liberally.

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Observations on the first official day of my internship.

  • This might be focused on volleyball, but really applies in all sports. Take a read, and have an honest, harsh look at how you do things.
  • When running against resistance (in this case, the Run Rocket), adjust the resistance to the individual. Consider the adaptation you are trying to elicit, and maintaining mechanics is primordial. Sounds so simple, and God knows there’s an ever-increasing amount of literature on this fact, yet I still know plenty who don’t follow these two basic principles.
  • The better performers (subjectively) at the resisted runs seem to do a good job of taking the time to feel the contact with the ground and pushing off of it with intent. This might be a bulldog vs greyhound thing, now that I think about it. More thought needed.
  • Wagwan!
  • Yes, the latest sport science is sexy. It might even be useful. That said, don’t put the chariot in front of the horse. Basics and fundamentals, done exceptionally well, will get you very far. Hell, this method has helped the athletes under Dan Pfaff win more than a handful of international medals. He identified the key menu items he absolutely needs to tick off, and during a busy competition season, focused on only those (sounds familiar?). For more on this idea, check out this podcast with Mladen Jovanovic by Keir Wenham-Flatt about risk calculation (or the impossibility of such a task) and how that affects training decisions. Then, check out everything else you can find by those two, they’re absolutely brilliant.
  • “Understand your subject in its utter complexity so you can teach it in its utter simplicity” Just like a good ELI5, it takes a very sharp mind to transmit a complicated concept to somebody who doesn’t have your depth of knowledge, or your vocabulary. It’s why I’m considering purchasing this book, simply to see how others do it.
  • “Don’t ever allow the pressure of competition be greater than the pleasure of competition. – George Foster” Basically #FUN for my buddies back home. Isn’t it why we got in to this in the first place?
  • Race day are never the time to try new things, even if they are the right things! If you usually never stretch as part of your warm-up, why is it suddenly important you do it now? It might do you some good finally, but it might not. Chances are, the sudden need to do these things are more an anxiety coping mechanism. It gives you a false sense of control, and boy do we love control.
  • Dan isn’t opposed to placebos, if it helps. Seth thinks the same. Placebos depend heavily on belief in what they do. So as Seth says, why aren’t we making a bigger effort of enhancing the placebo effect we have on our athletes by creating more belief?
  • Warm-ups need to be mindful, both from the athlete’s perspective (can feel, but can’t see) and the coach’s (can see, but can’t feel). Much info can be gained here.
  • Glad to see Dan soften his stance on the FMS. It isn’t bad, it’s just basic/level 1. I’d argue Gray Cook would say so himself too. Thing is, The Olympics don’t live in “level 1”, and require more resolution. I’m sure Gray would be fine with how Altis goes about things, since we’re still following same guiding principles : have a model for how things should look, know the bandwidth that you will call acceptable, make sure that your movement signatures stay inside these bandwidths, because we believe the risk of injury will increase when you leave these margins.
  • If you’re going to reach Dan’s level, you need to practice the skill of mindful observation. There simply is no way around it. I think what slows many down in their path to having cyborg/Yoda/Dan eyes (haven’t determined which one is more OP) is the fear of being called out. As a beginner coach, there’s been many times I saw something I felt certain was wrong, but either I couldn’t properly verbalize what I saw, or I didn’t know what was the proper way to correct it. My advice : fake it till you make it. Try something, and if it doesn’t work, try something else! You have to be willing to make mistakes. No adaptation can be achieved without stress.
  • I was going to say that a potential solution to the fear of being called out is simply “complete transparency”, and straight up letting your athlete know you aren’t sure. More I think about it, I realize few coaches have the luxury of being able to say this without damaging the belief their athlete has in them. Then again, having a coach demonstrate vulnerability might actually HELP increase a bond (sorta like this), but I’d have to also know that you’re doing everything you can to remedy this gap in your knowledge (taking the time to deepen your technical knowledge, seeking out another professional, working in collaboration with the athlete to find solutions).
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