A few days ago in our Strength and Conditioning classes, we threw a “changeup” at our students… we introduced front squat instead of the normal (back squat) lift we do on our squat emphasis day. I have documented our philosophy behind these “changeup” days before in this blog, (Throwing a “Changeup”, Jumping Mental Hurdles) essentially forcing the students to adapt and compete when something unexpected is thrown at them.
As I glanced around, looking at a room full of athletes with big question marks in their eyes, I asked them the rhetorical question “would I ever ask you to try something that I thought you couldn’t do?”
Of course, when you teach 7th and 8th grade student there are no rhetorical questions, and immediately a chorus of blurted out answers filled the weight room….
An emphatic “NO” was pretty much the consensus each hour….
But…. in each hour there was also the dissenting vote of “Yes… yes, you would”
When I quizzed those dissenters as to WHY they thought that way… why they thought I would ask them to try something that they may not be able to do, their answers were…
- “you always want us to push ourselves”
- “you want us to go to our limit”
- “you always think we can do more.”
- “you like for us to do difficult things”
And that is correct… I absolutely would ask them to try things that are difficult … that they may not be able to accomplish.
Now, I understand the thinking of the masses in each class… trusting that ‘ol Coach Floyd wouldn’t put them in harms way by asking them to do something unreasonable… and that is true as well.
But, as I explained to each class, failure is OK… it is an option. In fact, Failure is your ONLY option.
For, until you fail, you really do not know what your limits are…. if you never fail, you probably are not adequately stretching your boundaries… if you fear failure, you continually look to put yourself into situations that success is guaranteed. When you do that, you are missing out on growth opportunities.
As their teacher and coach it is my responsibility to push them… to challenge them.
It is also equally my responsibility to make sure that they understand that failure (I failed) is an action and not an identity (I am a failure).
I want them to trust that what I ask of them, including their resultant effort, and possible failure, will, in the long run, benefit them as an athlete and/or a human being.
Failure is a learning opportunity.
Remember – You Can Do More… your brain is lying to you…. Don’t Believe It!
Jeff Floyd – firstname.lastname@example.org