Today, our post is from Jenn Newman Certified Instructor near Toledo. Her influence on our organization is far-reaching. This article is long, but so worth reading.
Here it is:
I just wanted to share some thoughts and encouragement today to parents who are helping their student athletes at home. And to student athletes who might feel the stress to continue making progress without their normal practice schedule/routine/coaching.
In my morning reading I’ve been diving into topics such as: motor-learning, FLOW, biomechanics, success in business, homeschooling, parenting, leadership and variety of other things. In ALL subjects, one theme keeps emerging…
That theme is: Un-Hurry
I don’t want to say “Slow” because in our culture slow has negative connotations. The idea of un-hurry is a stress free, anxiety lacking, calm and present mindset. Our culture LOVES to be busy. When in reality relationships, self-improvement, success and task mastery all happen at an un-hurried pace.
Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness and self control are biblical ideas that I think many of us, Bible believing or not, would agree are great qualities to personify. In his book “The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry” John Mark Comer clearly identifies how hurry is nearly incompatible with these personality traits listed above.
I think we can get on board with this idea in our daily lives and relationships because we have so many books, ideas, and TED talks about being “present.” It’s being discussed quite frequently these days as it applies to relationships, mental health, and daily living.
However, in the athletic field we over look this idea and instead create environments that are stressful and lack the calm necessary to produce lasting success and task mastery.
This discussion might turn into a series as I work to uncover this idea, so stick with me as we go!
I met my friend Austin Wasserman last November and had an opportunity to help with quite a number of his classes. I bring him up because the culture that he creates is a great example of what “un-hurried” looks like in athletics.
I’m not saying that he doesn’t require kids to work hard, or that they don’t run between stations. But the lack of stress and pressure placed on the athletes performance made the atmosphere feel unhurried and peaceful. Great gains were achieved by the athletes during these sessions. Unhurried and achievement actually went hand and hand! We worked hard, enjoyed every minute of it, and didn’t feel the stress to have to have it all perfected and accomplished right then and there.
Daily, I’m thinking about my athletes and how to better help them un-hurry. How do I facilitate a culture of unhurried hard work? Which I KNOW breeds success.
In competitive athletics, and especially softball pitching, we often feel the stress and pressure to stay on top of our game or improve our game if we are not the top performer. We feel we have to get it and we have to get it now. Then once we have it, we have to work even harder to keep it! There is so much hurry in today’s sport culture. Hurry up and fix that mechanical issue, hurry up and gain 2 mph, hurry up or someone else is going to take your spot!
As John Mark Comer points out… JOY is often lost in the hurry.
JOY and PASSION are two intangible immeasurable quality’s that without a doubt breed a more successful athlete than having perfect mechanics. When we love what we do we will work harder at it, spend more time with it, and focus more intently during it. I also think the quality of our motor learning increases due to this passionate intent.
Austin closes his classes by saying that “Great players do the boring things really well.” Many times hard work looks boring and mundane. I would argue that mundane work can really be the hardest. Doing the same thing over and over can feel mundane. But in reality it requires that we focus all of our energy, passion and desire until the thing we are doing just becomes us. That is when mastery happens!
I would summarize by saying: mastery, success and un-hurry are compatible because it’s in the boring and mundane work that joy, and passion are harvested. It’s in the boring and mundane work that functional change happens both mentally and physically. It’s in the still and calm moments that athletes get into the deepest “FLOW” or get “in the zone.” And then the greatest athletes learn to actually manipulate chaos INTO calm in the competitive environment, because they innately know that is where success lies.
My question to you, and my question to myself, is….
“Are you creating an atmosphere of un-hurry that has the ability to fuel joy and passion? An atmosphere that has the ability to allow athletes to find their “FLOW?” Or are you creating an atmosphere that creates stress and pressure to achieve and perform that actually inhibits long term success and mastery?”
Thanks WassermanStrength for the example of a calm but hard working culture. Jamie Reno and Arin Oppermann for your grounding voices yesterday. You both reminded to me to stop looking around at others, and keep searching for my own stillness.