This is not about EPO, PED’s or getting juiced. This is about craft, about programming, and building an approach to training that builds success.
There are modern day alchemists among us. Some don’t even know it. Where some search for a literal gold and making profit of unsuspecting consumers, there are others searching for gold in large, international events that happen every four years. Still others that are blending, tweaking, researching, and constantly re-evaluating their approach to find the program that makes them or their athletes the best version of themselves.
Does the path to gold exist? I would say yes, some have discovered it. Look up names like Bill Bowerman, Bill Walsh, Barry Switzer… The trick is all about how you view your gold, if and once you find it. If your gold is about being the best compared to others, your gold will fade. It will have a shelf life. Eventually someone will figure out how you did it. They’ll learn exactly how you reached your success, your defining factor that made you stand out among the rest.
There’s a value in being unique, and in understanding your athletes are unique. This however doesn’t mean you are working with fragile, beautiful snowflakes. Rather, this is a lock-picking exercise with a combination lock and a combination that will unlock that athlete’s world. Then you find gold.
If you happen to unlock the lock and you didn’t learn the combination and it was luck, then alchemy may be on your side, but you still haven’t found the golden path.
In order for you to find gold, it must be repeatable. As a coach you want to know what works and what doesn’t. Knowledge is critical. Wisdom is putting all the pieces of knowledge you have about your athletes into a cohesive vision. This is your alchemy. Your practice.
24 hours in a day…
For some alchemists, I truly think they believe greatness can be read like a recipe book. Do this, do that, eat this, don’t eat that. Done. Maybe it is that simple. For most, getting 80% of the way there is OK. Maybe there’s enough gold in that. If all you do is recite recipes, at what point do you stop being an alchemist?
For the rest of us, we know, deep inside, that someone out there has done the impossible, pole-vaulted higher than we thought possible, sprinted, out-kicked, out-swam, beat times we thought were unbeatable.
Deep inside, we know there’s a way to find that gold, that there’s a way, a path that hasn’t been walked before, or at least in a very long time, that will produce this quality.
The piece that is missing here is learning to understand the people in front of you. You have only so much time to work with them before their window of opportunity is closed, or they close it on you. Pay attention to what’s going on.