Clunking, wobbling supermarket trolley wheels

I can't hear what you're saying because your actions are deafening.

As a player, captain and coach I've always struggled to get my head around players telling me that they wanted to progress and then not turning up to training. Or turning up but going walkabout, if you follow me. Struggled because, well, frankly, I did not really care whether they wanted it or not. If told that they did not then I could either manage my expectations or selection accordingly.

The ambivalent, who blow hot and cold can be managed. Those who blow one temperature for the most part can also be handled. But those who sell the desire dummy are a pain in the brown eye.

The concern for their progress, potential and the team is the slippery slope. It's easy to not train because it's cold, or because it's raining, or because it's your dog's birthday or because it will be bloody hard work or it might expose a weakness. Most of us have been there at some point. And if not in these terms, then how about adopting a healthy habit, or giving up a bad one e.g. sugar. Trouble is, it's the thin edge of the wedge. You forgo one opportunity, justifying it to yourself that the stars will be better aligned tomorrow.

But how will tomorrow be any different? Really. What awkwardness is there today which will be gone tomorrow? And what unknown is loitering on the edge of tomorrow, waiting for you to falter?

At risk of sounding like Yoda, once you start down this road, forever will it shape your destiny! Well, maybe not forever but every time the pressure is on that forked tongue will flicker in your ear. Quitting is a frighteningly easy habit to get in to...and if you have any ambitions as a competitive athlete, it will prove fatal.
There is a time for rest in any training programme. There is time for going at half or reduced intensity, a time which will help facilitate your growth. But these are different from the reasoning we construct after that fact to justify our actions. There are other good reasons for not training but simply put these come down to a loser in the battle of priorities. That's fine but we need to know!

1) Structured rest is important (but usually follows work!)
2) We're capable of more than we know but we need to stick with it to explore these new reaches.
3) Giving up or giving in is a habit just like winning but easier to establish and harder to escape!
4) Integrity, congruence of words and deeds, is crucial to the vitality of a team and to long-term mental health of the individual.

But all of these niggles are like the front wheel on the trolley I always seem to pick at the supermarket. Frustrating, occasionally ignorable, but normally workable...albeit not at optimum levels.

I should probably clarify these thoughts before dumping them out into the world! As a parting message: never settle for less than your best, even if that is more than you believed it could be.


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