Showing posts from 2010

It's that time again

Just to make it clear, I have no issue with New Year's resolutions...although it would seem that the vast majority of people who make them evidently do (if failure rates are any judge!). If opening a new diary is what it takes to get you to set some new goals for yourself who am I to criticise? I have before, and no doubt will again, dealt with goal-setting elsewhere. Here I am going to set out a brief guide list for newcomers or "first-time-in-a-long-time"-comers. Inspired by the impending calendar change and by some of the strange antics I have witnessed, I thought it might be useful to put some guidance out there. So here goes:1. You can't do it all
I could have called this "focus on one thing at a time" and had you on the right path. YOU CANNOT DO EVERYTHING AT ONCE and trying to change all aspects of your life or training at the same time maximises the range of habits you have to break and re-create. Training facet or habit-breaking, the same princi…

So you know you're not alone in thinking this...

There is no such thing as an entirely level playing field and to pretend otherwise is naive and delusional. My issue with hankering after one is that it puts you, the individual, anywhere other than at the centre of finding a solution (how we like to externalise blame!).

"If we could just catch a break we could turn this on its head"; "If the referee would just stop penalising us we could get back in this"; "if they'd just advertised that job in the one idiosyncratic publication I happen to read I could have applied".

What are you doing about it? If you're sitting back waiting for a leg-up or investing your energy in complaining about the situation you are missing the point.

For reasons of endocrinology or physiology or psychology - hormones or rest or genetics or fuelling or mental acuity or physical positioning - in every field of human endeavour we will find ourselves different to the people we are with and against. Even if that wasn't true, t…

An old one from the journal (October 2010)

I forget what prompted this little rantette! *********************************************************
If you're being helped by somebody else do you have the right to complain about the extent of the help? I'm sure that I'm missing something here. What happened to appreciating the attempt?
I'm not saying that we ought to be snivelling, grovelling, obsequiously grateful. A recognition of the assistance would be nice. Most help isn't given in the expectation of thanks but not saying so could well promote a feeling of being taken for granted. Following close on the heels of that comes the backlash.
So next time somebody helps you, even if your pride is dented by the assistance or if you think you actually needed more, give a nod to the helping hand. Acknowledge that somebody else has lost something - even if only the opportunity to be somewhere else, doing something else - to give to you. Maybe they could have done more or given more but if it was freely given, stop comp…

End of Autumn term: report

As we roll into Christmas it's about half-time in the season and that lends itself to a mid-term review- a view from Fester's dungeon.

I've been known to get too serious about stuff and one of the myriad things I did wrong as skipper was to take it all too seriously and to try to get everybody to feel the same way, to the same degree.

I still take things seriously but I try to remember to keep some humour in it and confine myself to my sphere. I no longer struggle to teach the pig to sing. I can't speak for my porcine friends but it was irritating the heck out of me!

As a firmly amateur club, it has been interesting to see an emphasis on fitness coaching. I would say "strength and conditioning" as that's my background, but frankly we're a long way from that. Even so, for some time now the club has had a dedicated provision of fitness coaching in its corner (yes I know necessity is the mother of invention but why fight it!). I'm told it has been of so…

Getting stuff done

1. Know what you want
2. Understand the consequences of not getting what you want
3. More importantly, understand what getting it will mean
4. Figure out the steps to get there
5. Keep 1 in mind while working through 4. Just take the first step, there's beauty in action.

If you're doing something right now, figure out why it is important to you (if you're taking the time to do it, it must be significant on some level. If it really isn't, if it isn't more important than your next step, or if it isn't setting you up to make that next move, why are you doing it?)

"But it's easier said than done". Really? I suppose it can be, if only because we've got into the habit of being as glib with ourselves as readily as with the outside world - ah well, at least there's an ounce of integrity in that!

The five points above not only point you in the right direction (ultimately you need to provide the drive) but will give you a number of chances to…

Forgetting your media?

This is an odd one for a blog post but I think that we've lost the ability to be comfortable with our thoughts. I'm not sure that we need companionship or a sense of belonging any more than previous generations but I do think we seek these things out with a completely different outlook to our forebears.

there is a constant, never-ending supply of, and demand for, information and entertainment - Television; radio; magazines; newspapers; computers; mobile devices; gaming platforms; the blogosphere. They all enter our lives, shoehorn themselves into our existence and lure us in with promises of engagement. And we enter willingly, we get hooked and we demand more. In exchange for the tacit surrender of our ability to critique, to analyse, to determine logical value we receive a succession, a torrent, a flood of padding to swell our time. Suppliers quest for more to sustain it lest we begin to recover, to think about what we're seeing and hearing. So we're brought in further…


For a while now I've been struck by how people will judge others by standards much higher than those they demand of themselves. It has risen its head recently.

There are few occasions in life that you will get something for nothing. even a string-free, no-obligation gift will cost you in opportunity. So why then do some people insist on demanding that people change to suit them with a steadfast, dogmatic refusal to make the slightest accommodation? I should probably qualify this.

Just turning up is not enough, there is still action that needs taking. You will get nothing for just being there. And as you're there you may as well take some action to preserve or progress your position. not prepared to do anything? Don't want to change? Fine. That's your prerogative. And I mean that with no value statement at all. It is absolutely your prerogative not to change but please do not whinge when the world does not oblige.

Think about it - what do you want, what are you getting, wh…

Just the beginning

"No mystic and no student of Zen is at first step the man he can become through self-perfection. How much has still to be conquered and left behind before he finally lights upon the truth! How often is he tormented on the way by the desolate feeling that he is attempting the impossible!"
Suzuki, Zen and the art of archery I've been having conversations with people lately about following a path. One of the things that is apparent is that in this world there are not many people who are fully prepared to do the hard yards to get where they say where they want to be (I do sometimes wonder if I'm one of those). Too many of us have a sense of entitlement, a feeling that somehow the universe owes them something. Even those that set out on the path find themselves surrounded by people that tell them it's not fair because it doesn't land in our laps. Don't try to drag yourself up, berate the universe with us. Or we are surrounded by "friends" who tell us …

Approach with care

A slight time delay in typing this one...
26/07/10 - UK

There are some things which crop up in both of the major areas of my life - work training. Just as well really, it helps to confirm my belief that hobbies promote and develop behaviours and attitudes which can prove invaluable in the work environment. The one that baffles me in both is nested in people's approach. "I want something different to the outcome that I'm getting now. But I'm going to resist at every turn the suggestion that I should do anything different from that which I've done to this point." Maybe it's just me but I don't understand! A different output requires a difference in its creation. However, while we are busy not changing, the world around us, or at the very least, our competition, is shifting. In these circumstances we find that although we've not done anything differently the result is not the same. So, what to do? Well, for many, frequently even the very bright, the so…

Hill sprints imitate life... or does life imitate hill sprints?

There's something about high intensity repetitions of an exercise (hill sprints is what brought this to mind) which is like life.

Just to be clear, when I say high intensity I mean - as much as you have to give at that time. Balls out, fast as you can, hard as you can. Clearly then, if you do a number of reps in that session your results will decline as your "best" is a little less each time as your tanks drain. How quickly it declines will depend on a number of factors e.g. time available for recovery; prior training inter alia.


We talk about our best effort but we should be clear, best effort is only a maximum of what is available at that given moment. Your "best" will depend on many things - fatigue; time of day; motivation etc And at the same time, it doesn't.


The measured output of the results of our best effort will vary dramatically. As will the ease with which we hit the stride of our best effort. But best effort is also ab…

Let's get ready to rumble...

Before I really became a student of this training stuff, I used to just dive in. I hated warming-up. All the stretching and holding didn't sit comfortably and the just running was dull. I wanted to get stuck in. Some of my fondest playing memories are from matches where, for one reason or another, we just got on with it. Obviously these images will have been enhanced with preservation in my mind but why is it they worked for me? I think the practice of what I do now before sessions and what I have my trainees do has echoes in these roots, albeit coloured by the training and research since.

First question (and this is a pretty standard opening for me): what are you warming up for? More exactly at this stage, what is the point of the warm-up? Well, to borrow from Verkoshanksy, it's more about "pre-activity preparation" than it is about warming-up per se. You are getting yourself ready for what's ahead physically and mentally. Some of the reasons those examples I all…

What's your standard?

The difference between being a champion and being a nearly man is in your view of the past. The real victor is able to look back on their achievements, they can talk about them but they do not have to because they don't have to prove anything. The also-ran will talk about them as though something is missing. The difference before the fact is in your head and in your heart.
To give yourself to the pursuit of your goal, without reservation, is a remarkable thing and, frankly, beyond the ken of many. Looking back and wondering what might been is tragic. If you gave it everything, with every ounce of your being then there is nothing to regret. Sure it would be good to say you had done better - and nothing should stop you striving to obtain that better outcome - but to give it your all is to have flown your colours at full mast and to have stood proud in the teeth of the gale. There is no real question because you did everything you could.
We know this. In our inner most being, we all kn…

Going Home

I’m going home.But it’s not really home, and has not been for 13 years. Or more if you count the fact that it was home between protracted absences for a couple if years before that.Over the course of the journey I find myself getting wistful for some things. I really appreciated being by the water and the view. I’d always enjoyed the scenery and the view but I’d never realised that it was special. Remembering some of the things I used to get up to, in a more vivid form than some of the conversations I have had since, I realise that I’ve become urban. Not in a hip-hop, “d’ya feel me, bruv” kind of way but definitely more town than country.I have changed. Things here, not surprisingly, have too. Some of the old faces have gone. Most of the remaining faces have changed a little – none so dramatically remodelled as mine – and some have hardly changed at all. The scenery too has shifted in places, but not, save for the infringement of nature, moved at all in others.The first thing that str…