Sports Psychology

What is the most important factor in workout success?

A note for clarity here, folks. The following is the foreword I wrote for the ISSA text way back in 1988 when Dr. Sal Arria and I launched the ISSA. I loved it then, and I love it now. I hope you enjoy it, and, ummm, take it seriously -- with a smile!

Your bod. You tinker with it. That's what you do, that's who you are. If you're a competitive athlete, bodybuilder or just plain crazy about working out, you spend every waking moment visualizing its exterior as it will become, and pondering over its interior, either hoping it'll stay the way it used to be, or that what you're doing to its exterior isn't a negative influence on it.

Your body is wondrous, generous and dangerous all at once. It is the link between life and death, wealth and poverty, and misery and happiness. It can be a source of pride or disgust. It provides the seed of life itself, and the causes for its decay. Learn to dance with your body. But you must learn to follow, not lead. You must learn to go with the natural rhythmicity of your biochemical self, following its lead in all that you do to it.

Force nothing. Amplify rather than initiate. Your body is inclined to go where you never dreamed possible, if only you'll let it do so.
A thousand years from now, man may know enough about his body to laugh at these admonitions. But not today.

OK, now that I have your attention! Here’s the real blog.

I mean, really! Would you have listened to a diatribe by a die-hard jock talking about sports unless I got your attention first? Here it is.
Vince Lombardi is often credited with the quote, “Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” That's a common misconception. The quote traces back to Red Sanders, head coach of UCLA. He was quoted in a 1955 issue of Sports Illustrated.

However, in the 1953 movie "Trouble Along The Way," John Wayne uses the quote, word for word. Robert Andrews was the screenwriter. Imagine! A Hollywood geek coining one of the most famous sports one-liners of all time!

Shortly before his death, Lombardi said, "I wished I'd never said the thing … I meant the effort. I meant having a goal. I sure didn't mean for people to crush human values and morality."

Touching, Vince, and that may be fine in the world of non-serious playground sports or dance class. Personally, though, I’ve never played in such a sport, and I’ve never stepped foot on an aerobics dance floor!

Vince said that, too?

Ol' Vince also has been credited with saying, "Fatigue makes cowards of us all." But it wasn't Lombardi who said it first. It was General Patton. Vince was an avid fan of Patton. No matter, though. They were both wrong, wrong, wrong!

Phooey! I spit on fatigue!

Fatigue is the spark which ignites.
It is the means to greatness.
It is the vehicle to success.
Fatigue only makes cowards of the uncommitted.

So, accept your gut-wrenching training protocol as incredibly important to your very survival in sports! See, there are no shortcuts to sports excellence any more than there is in living a productive life! Because it’s in your heart! It’s in your soul! You cannot take a pill or insert a needle for that! You must do it the old- fashioned way! You must EARN it!

What about teamwork?

A lot is said about working as a team. Here’s what I hear some coaches say:

A team is a machine
Teams have a common goal
Teams are cohesive
Teams personify unity
Teams have a division of labor
Teams have a collective will to win

BULL!

To me, “team” means self-pride! Self-actualization! Personal responsibility! Self-sacrifice! Heartfelt passion!

If any team member lacks any of these attributes, there is no team, only a collection of individuals destined to LOSE! If, however, each team member possesses the before-mentioned personal qualities, then the team will NEVER lose!

So what’s the bottom line?  Passion!

NOT commitment to excellence. Rather, utter disdain for anything less!
NOT endless hours of practice. Instead, PERFECT practice!
NOT ability to cope. Rather, total domination of EVERY situation in life!
NOT setting goals. Goals too often prescribe performance limits!
NOT doing what it takes to win. Instead, a burning commitment to do what no one has ever done -- or will ever do again!
NOT need to achieve. Instead, doing what it takes to EXCEED the bounds of mere convention.

NOT force of skill or muscle. Rather, it’s the irrepressible, indomitable force of WILL!

If you believe in and practice these things, then for you, winning is neither everything nor the only thing. If you believe in and practice these things, then, for you, winning has become a FOREGONE CONCLUSION!

But if, along the way, you somehow stumble, PROFIT from the experience! Then, vow, by the power of Almighty God, it'll NEVER happen again!

Make THAT your playbook in the gym, on the field -- and in life!

Ok, so what did Vince really say?

In closing, here’s another one of Vince’s quotes….one that he REALLY did say and I buy that!

Dr. Fred Hatfield

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