Considering the impact of the Olympics upon the training approaches for children, coaching psychology continues to threaten the well-being of our next generations. By not teaching them the difference between healthy discipline and unhealthy obsession, by imposing sadistic standards and not fostering empowering attitudes, the next generation will define themselves by the masochism of suffering, not by the gratification of growth.
We hamper their physical growth, as well as their mental and emotional development; AND OUR OWN. Where is their fulfillment? Where is our own?
One of my most influential teachers had a saying, “That thou art.” You are what you define yourself to be. I told my teacher of my coach’s intention to make me a champion even if it killed me. My teacher chuckled at the ambition to win at all costs, because for my teacher the outcome was never the purpose, “Why win the battle to lose the war?” For my teacher, the point of training was to give me an opportunity to face incrementally greater pressure, and rise in my character to face higher and higher quality challenges. If training killed me, injured me, scarred me, then my training no longer serves a “purpose.”
Deliberately introduce positive stress into your to awaken the willpower, to stimulate your focus, and to store the primal grace and power of your physical health. We NEED to measure and track that stress, and keep honest that we are providing sufficient stress, yet preventing excessive stress. But we can’t forget that tracking and measuring is only the means to the purpose, not the end in itself.
Approach training like monks approach sand-art. Granule by granule, they create images with Sistine greatness. Yet as soon as they complete the image, they stand and sweep it away. The outcome is just a goal, not the purpose. They need the goal to have the experience. You cannot discard the means. But the outcome isn’t the ultimate purpose.
Life doesn’t last that long, but it lasts long enough to be compassionately heroic in the most mundane details: every choice gives us a chance to grow toward our true purpose, rather than break under the pressure of senseless expectations.
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