Over the past year, I’ve read some really good books. An author of books that I really enjoyed is Ryan Holiday. His books include The Obstacle is the Way, Ego is the Enemy, and The Daily Stoic (which I read on a daily basis).
What Ryan writes about in those books is the philosophy of Stoicism. To me, and what I took away from the books is pretty much trying to embrace living in the moment. The idea of focusing on what is in front of you and not letting outside influences getting in the way. Outside influences would include events or stress that have happened in the past, present, or in the future.
In the athletic world, when the word stoic is used to describe a leader or a coach, I think of Coach Bill Belichick’s “Do Your Job” and Coach Nick Saban’s “The Process”. They are great coaches who emphasize performing the task at hand to the best of your ability with the end result being continuous improvement.
In the Strength and Conditioning world, the overall process can be a grind. The athletes you work with need to be able to do what is in front of them to the best of their ability. The focus must be on the repetition at hand. It can’t be “Damn, I have 3 reps left” or “We have to run shuttles tomorrow”. I think it’s the job of the Strength and Conditioning Coach to help keep your athletes in the moment. Correct their technique, encourage their execution of the task they are performing.
This is important at all levels of athletics. Student athletes in high school and college have way more on their plate. Going to class, taking exams, studying, etc., are all different demands that each student athlete faces. Then, adding team dynamics such as practices, games, role on the team, Iis Coach mad at me?”, on top of that creates a situation where the athlete has a tougher time focusing on the task at and. This is also a reality at the professional level with the exception of being a student. Except for them it is family, financial, and other responsibilities.
In the professional hockey environment, the better players that I have worked with over the years embrace the process of the season. Playing 82 games is a grind and each season has its ups and downs in terms of wins and losses including streaks and slumps. It’s a reason why I think many players are superstitious or have routines that they go through to help them prepare.