“It is impossible to attain and maintain desirable physical condition without first achieving mental and moral condition.”-John Wooden
As we sit down and review past seasons, I wonder how many of us take conditioning into consideration. Beyond that, I wonder how many of us build conditioning into our practice plans. Of course, I’m talking about Wooden-type conditioning, which is deeper than running sprints and lifting weights. Read on to find out the three types of conditioning necessary for successful players, teams, and seasons.
3 reasons why proper conditioning is vital to reaching your potential
1. Mental condition. The season is a long haul and the players (and coaches) have to mentally prepare themselves for the ups and downs that will inevitably happen from beginning to end. Everyone is happy at the beginning of the season because we’re all mentally and physically fresh. But what happens a couple of months into season and some folks see the writing on the wall, that they won’t play as much as they thought, and their school work is wearing on them? The mentally strong teams will keep pushing through, relying on their team goals to keep them motivated.
2. Moral condition. This is a particularly timely topic. What would your players do if they could take a pill that would help them recover faster from tough workouts, go harder in the weight room, swing faster, and hit harder? As you know, baseball has been dealing with this issue lately and I believe it’s a moral issue. Will you do whatever it takes within the rules…or are you willing to operate in the grey zone just outside the rules? I’d be wary of a coach or player who didn’t see any problems with breaking rules, because where does it stop? We’ve got to believe that things will work out for those of us that do things the right way and even if it doesn’t, we’ve taught our players a valuable life lesson.
3. Physical condition. Some sports require massive aerobic capacity. While others require its participants to use tremendous explosive energy. Every sport requires different levels of exertion, but the thing that all sports require is a commitment to doing what it takes to be in the best possible physical condition in order to be successful. I believe that mental and physical conditioning go hand in hand. For an athlete to push themselves to the edges of their limits daily requires a resolve that is a bit unnatural…therefore a significant goal is required. As long as the goal is large enough and the players think it’s attainable through hard work, they’ll be willing to log long hours in the gym.
As Wooden says, “you must be conditioned for whatever you’re doing if you’re going to do it to the best of your ability”. Hopefully, conditioning our athletes for success is a top priority for all of us coaches.