Sunday, 1 November 2009

Vires et Honestas part 2

In one of my earlier posts I explained the whole "Vires et Honestas" slogan we use at SPQR (read it here). The thoughts I put down in that post are especially clear to me today after a disappointing session with the University sports team I coach.

We have a week to go before the start of the new season which means I have (had) one final Sunday session and one Thursday session to teach the guys the new skills they would need to play and win next week. Unfortunately, only twenty or so players turned up. That's not a bad number you might say, but when I tell you the sport is American Football and I need a minimum of 18 players on the sidelines to even be allowed to play the game then my problem becomes clearer. Factor that in, then add in the fact that this is a minority sport over here (at best) and that I have had a total of just four weeks to train guys who never even touched a football before starting University how to play correctly and most importantly, safely. This is a game where catastrophic injury can and does happen, especially if you don't know what you are doing. Add in the further factor that of those guys that did show up for training, only a handful were linemen, the majority were the so-called "skill position" players and it further complicates things.

Everything in football starts with the line, be it offensive or defensive. Without either, nothing will work as expected and the training session becomes less and less useful. Sure, we can run the plays, but without the offensive line blocking, the whole timing of the play is shot. On the defensive side of the ball, with no big guys up front it's just not worth the time put in.

Why weren't the players there? No idea. Only two of the missing players had the decency to call me, e-mail me, text me or facebook me. Hey, I'm flexible, if you have a legitimate reason I can live with it, but to just not show up? That disrespects me, my coaching staff and, more egregiously in my eyes, disrespects their team mates. Vires et Honestas holds implicit the meaning of team, brotherhood, fraternity. Those guys that didn't show up have shown neither strength nor honour and the team is weaker as a whole because of it. In addition to missing a valuable training session, the fact that they weren't there today means they will not be registered in time for the game and so next week my squad will be depleted further.

Coupled with this, many of the players that did show up lacked passion and intensity of effort. They were just going through the motions which helps no one. I keep telling them, train to be mediocre and that's the best they can ever be and I mean it. It is very rare that an athlete will achieve the peak level of their training goal - more often than not the result is less than that. Give me someone that only tries to be a B student and I will show you someone with a C average, give me that same student and have them shoot for an A every time, then that C student becomes a B+. The same is true in sport, school and in life.

If the only effort you display is the effort to be average, then that is the level you will achieve ON YOUR BEST DAY - every other day you will be less so and your life will be the poorer because of it. If you believe you are average, how can you expect to beat the guy in front of you? Often, the difference between a winner and a loser is that the winner believes he will win, the loser believes he might win. The winner may not be any better than you physically, but if that belief is there he will prevail.

The same is true in the gym. When you walk in and see that workout on the board, you have to believe you will own it. Once it gets in your head that it's tough, tougher than you can handle, then you will quit - I guarantee it. Believe you can accomplish the workout and you will - I guarantee that too!

Vires et Honestas means that in everything you give your best, for yourself and your cohorts. Anything less and you are just making platitudes to the words.

Vires et Honestas!