Here’s a picture of the youngest runner entered in last Saturday’s Run For the Roses sponsored by X Fitness – Violet King, 23 months… my granddaughter.
I have coached thousands of athletes but Violet is my favourite. She trains hard, never complains, and is always happy when she’s running, no matter if it’s the race or training. She loves running. Unlike many of today’s professional athletes she is not spoiled, lazy, arrogant, coddled, or protected by collective bargaining agreements that limit their reps. Violet is a pure athlete, who runs and trains for the PURE LOVE OF THE SPORT.
Sports are paradoxical. Athletics can transform lives positively. I’ve seen it. But it can also transform lives negatively, turning athletes into selfish individualists disconnected from their team in an attempt to be above the team. True athletes rise above it, they don’t act above it. When athletes lose touch with reality, believing they are special, then sports become the double-edge sword. The intolerable attitudes of athletes don’t just happen. Nothing just happens. They’re built. Developed. Athletic arrogance develops by extreme recruiting, extreme adulation, extreme royal treatment that is undeserved. Rolling out the red carpet is destroying the attitudes of athletes – a generation of pampered, out-of-touch adolescents who never grow up.
In my experience, here’s the difference between a mature and immature athlete – TRUE LOVE. True love of the sport. Mature athletes have TRUE LOVE OF TRAINING – true love of the struggle. Immature athletes have true love only of the spotlight. Immature athletes love the reward but not the investment. It’s one thing to love the idea of being an athlete and actually acting like one. A true athlete is consistent – works the same in training as in the game. No difference. If you truly love the sport, you will love everything that’s connected to it – training included. If you love gameday only, you don’t truly love the sport – you love only the reward. Big difference. It’s the difference between a true professional and a true amateur.
No one is born a superstar. Everyone is born with varying degrees of gifts but every single athlete has to develop those gifts with training. Superstars don’t just happen. They’re made. It’s easy for coaches to romanticize the past, telling legendary tales of athletes who love the sport. I don’t participate in revisionist history. A small percentage of the thousands of athletes I’ve coached truly loved the sport. I have the evidence to prove it. True love of the sport is not common. It’s uncommon. Rare. Just like superstars. The majority of self-professed athletes don’t truly love the sport – they love the thought of it.
Last week’s sports page gave more examples of the absurdities of pampered athletes not dealing in reality or with reality. Yes athletes are human. That’s not my point. It’s their messed-up mentality that they are someone special.
The true difference between a professional and an amateur is not the amount of money paid to play the game. It what is paid to play.
Never lose your true love of running.
Never lose sight of what matters.
Keep loving it with all your heart.
And all your soul.
Here she is again – Youngest runner, Violet King 23 months – Run For the Roses sponsored by X Fitness. #PURELOVEOFTHESPORT
The psychology of wind sprints is just as important as the physiology.
Every football season starts the same way – I have to re-adjust wrong attitudes toward wind sprints. Most rookies believe that wind sprints are punishment, ranking somewhere between actual torture and being forced to read a book. Mindset adjustment is the key – wind sprints are not punishment and not pain…they’re a huge benefit, the difference between getting clobbered and doing the clobbering. Change the focus change the outcome. What you focus on grows. If you believe sprints are a pain, the pain grows until you quit. If you focus on the benefit, your strength and stamina grow. You’ll never quit when you’re focused on what matters.
Wind sprints don’t need mental toughness…they build it. Wind sprints have strengthened the weakest of minds. Most rookies who I have coached come in with minimal mental toughness, ready to cave in at the earliest onset of pressure or discomfort from exertion. Wind sprints change that. But it’s not just about running aimlessly. Even though running sprints is relatively simple, there’s a science to it…the psychology of wind sprints. The key is to focus only on the wind sprint being run. Don’t focus on the next wind sprint or the total number that have to be run. Focusing on the big picture makes the mind think of more pain than it can handle. Thinking of anticipated pain is a leading cause of quitting. Anticipated pain is worse than the actual discomfort of sprinting. The mind has a vivid imagination, conjuring uncomfortable images that terrify instead of inspire. Changing the perception changes the outcome. Re-define what you don’t like to do and you’ll love to do it.
Sprints win championships. Sprints lose fat. Football is a high-risk, violent sport. It’s viscous. If you’re unprepared, you will get cut up to pieces. Work hard and get shredded or be lazy and get shredded. #choiceisyours #respectthegame
Gino Arcaro is a bestselling author who has transitioned from academic law enforcement textbooks to non-fiction motivational book. His first one is Soul of a Lifter. The book is a true story about how lifting is life-saving. Lifting lost souls is a two-way life-saver. So is lifting weights. Soul of a Lifter is about connections between lost souls who become souls of lifters. We all have the capacity to be a soul of a lifter, if we’re willing to lift others. Buy Soul of a Lifter here.
Soul of a Lifter is a dual meaning title. It refers to the soul that drives people to lift heavy weight. And it refers to the soul that lifts others.
I chose the title to introduce several themes starting with my belief that my soul led me to lifting weights which changed my life. I was an obese, dysfunctional 12-year-old. No human led me to the gym. No human drove me to by my first barbell set. No human drove me to the high school track where I started running on pavement to lose pounds and pounds of blubber. I believe my soul led me to the gym, starting a 41-year workout career that has impacted thousands of students and athletes.
I have used working out as a forum to make an impact on students and athletes. I have never been a competitive bodybuilder or powerlifter. That’s not what the book is about. Lifting fits into the big picture of the book, weaving a thread that connected many lost souls.
Lost souls are main characters in the book. A common theme is the souls of lifters who lifted each other consciously or subconsciously.