When coach didn’t show up one day due to a personal situation we could have simply done what we were supposed to do. After all, we knew exactly what was on the agenda for that day’s practice. We knew the sequence of every drill we would be running. Coach not being there shouldn’t have mattered. His absence gave us a chance to show that we were focused and responsible, but it also give us the opportunity to show that we still had a long way to go.
We could have just scrimmaged or ran a number of drills that were second nature to us. Instead, half the team decided to have a slam dunk contest. And since none of us could really dunk (hey, we were only freshmen and sophomores) a few slight modifications were made.
By the time coach finally stuck his head into the gym, Round 3 of the dunk contest was half-way complete. Our top player was in full flight having taken off from a chair that had been placed a few feet inside the free throw line. The incredulous look on Coach’s face as DC threw down his best Dr. J-like effort is still in my mind. Silently, Coach observed as we scrambled to get organized. “I can see you’re not interested in practicing today,” he finally said. “That’s just fine by me! Apparently, we don’t have enough team disciple. That’s about to change.”
So instead of practicing, we ran. Then, we ran some more. After that, we ran again. Then again. Then sideways. Then backwards. Then suicide lines. Then more lines. Then we ran some more. And once that was over, we ran again.
And when we’re were done, we ran again.
We didn’t have enough disciple to do what we were supposed to do unsupervised, so we needed to be reminded of our responsibility.
Training requires discipline. No one will be there to make sure you do the right things. No one will knock on your door and remind you that you need to show up that day. No one will call you if you don’t make it in. You will have to do this for yourself.
And then you’ll have to do it again.
You will not always want to go. You will be tired sometimes, busy sometimes, sore, unmotivated, stressed, hungry, bored, etc. It doesn’t matter, if it’s your day to go, you go.
I remember my first year in college, I use to walk to the gym each day. Sometimes it was cold and windy. Sometimes it was pouring rain and my umbrella was a baseball cap. Sometimes it was so hot that you felt drained by the time you got there. Sometimes I had to eat on the way. None of that mattered, I went anyway.
One year, my schedule was all over the place. My training partner was in a similar situation. The only way to not miss workouts was to train at midnight. That’s what we did for 6 months using a master key given to us by the head janitor, a fellow bodybuilder of course. Officially, the gym closed at eleven. Perfect, we had the whole place to ourselves.
Later when I had a car, there was a time when the school gym was closed for renovations. We found a gym at a Jr. College 30 minutes away and smooth-talked the coaches there into letting us train even though it was against policy. They knew we were serious and thought we set a good example for their players.
Today, it’s still easy for me to make it into the gym. It’s directly related to getting something I want. It’s also a part my basic nature at this point. To be discipline in doing the task required for success is a normal thing to me. Discipline decides the difference between having either a chance at success or an assurance of failure. In time, you learn to coach yourself and require that you always show up and do your best. It’s not the threat of having to run that keeps you in line. It’s the knowledge that you will only be cheating yourself if you don’t do what you know you’re supposed to do.
Become your own coach and hold yourself accountable. Develop the disciple you will need to see your goals through. Every day you do the right thing moves your further down the right path.
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