Wednesday, July 23, 2008

"Change The Focus"

As much as i try to teach my kids each day, I learn quite a bit from them. My son is in a soccer camp this week. Monday, it was 90+ degrees out and humid and he was in his cleats, shin guards and socks for four hours. He developed some major blisters on both heels. They were about the size of a nickel and the skin was flapping. We put some band aids on them the next morning, then he put on his cleats, shin guards and socks. According to my wife, he was walking out to the car very gingerly. She didn't know how he was going to run at practice. When I came home on Tuesday, I asked how the camp went to which he replied "great! We won the scrimmage, I played center mid-field." I then asked how his blisters were doing. He said "Oh... I think they are OK." I looked at them and the skin had fallen off and they were both bleeding.

Everything we do on a daily basis has a mind body connection. How we direct our mental focus determines how well we do physically. I wondered how many adult athletes that I knew would have blown off their training that day had they had the same blisters. I'm not claiming that my son is tougher than most. In fact, he's a sensitive 7 year old. But kids don't over think things and don't over focus on small issues. All that he knew was that he wanted to go "play" that day. His focus was on playing.

I've discussed before the 70 year old psychiatrist that I personal train. He's an avid tennis player who had a major surgery performed on his wrist two years ago - a surgery that was botched. He was told that playing tennis again would be difficult and to never attempt doing push-ups again, yet he currently plays an hour or more of daily singles and when I see him, I can get three sets of 12 to 15 push-ups out of him. The funny thing is that if I tell him just before he attempts a set of push-ups to really focus on his wrist, he can't do one. Instead, I tell him to visualize he's on the tennis court and in a great rally and to feel the power coming from his lower body. He puts himself there mentally and bangs out the push-ups. He changes the focus.

Just some food for thought next time you think about skipping a training session, or cutting something short, because of a minor nagging pain or ache. Don't be stupid and really injure yourself, yet at the same time, if you shift the focus correctly, things usually correct themselves and even better, our performance improves. Maybe the real lesson is to not take things so seriously and "play" more? And to change the focus.

Download This:
  • "I will possess your heart" by Death Cab For Cutie. I hate the name of this band. So much so that it actually for some stupid reason makes me not want to listen to them. Yet, they are really good and this song has a great rhythm for training, and it's over eight minutes long.
  • "I'm not over" by Carolina Liar.
  • "Let it die" by The Foo Fighters - these guys continually put out one good song/album after another.




Anonymous said...

my folks had a no-whining rule, I think it was a good thing. Once while playing soccer as kid, I had just had about a dozen warts removed from my foot, mostly on the top. After the game I saw my bloody sock and realized they must have popped when I kicked.
Another time I feel into a fire and burnt my head and had to have it all wrapped up. I was the goalie, so when the ball hit my hand the blisters popped.
I didn't notice either at the time.
If you keep your eye on the ball and your head in the game you won't notice the discomfort right?
I think you are very right to point out that its a matter of focus as you put it. If you focus on the finish line in a race you won't stop.
Of course last race I focused on your back, but that a whole different story :)

great post...


Eric said...

You need to stop playing with frogs John.