Sports Coaches and Players
There is great truth in the saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, try doing what your coach told you the first time.”
While there is much argument amongst sports fans, there is little about who the greatest wide receiver in football is by a long shot – Jerry Rice. He shattered every meaningful NFL record, played in 5 Superbowls, won 4 and is in the hall of fame. Guess what – he was drafted 16th in the first round. That is right 15 other pro teams with pro ‘talent’ scouts missed his innate, one of a kind, once a century type of talent. He did not have NFL speed as well.
What did he have? He is renown for his work ethic. He was known as the hardest working man in football, but it was not necessarily the type of ‘hard’ work most people think of. As his hall of fame counterpart, quarterback Steve Young says, “There’s hard work, then there is Jerry Rice hard work.”
This exceptional dedication to constant improvement is a cognitive (above the neck) skill that can be developed. Humans are not born with different limits in brain speed, at least that limit has not been found yet, the way they can differ in physical speed (assuming no disability). Brain speed is built through a process now described to us in cognitive and behavioral neuroscience and psychology. See handout here.
That is what I teach to all levels of athletes – the why of the way things work and how they can begin to apply it on their own. They are left with a choice – focus as needed and get better, a lot better than they are, or don’t and do not. Why only work out the body when the brain can be strengthened the same way?
Knowing one is in control of that, how to begin going about the process, and that it will pay off is powerful motivation. When a few third stringers decide to work this way for all of training camp and end up starting others will take notice.