Relax and Win – 1
Today we shift gears from doping and focus on the positive.
Willie Williams was my head track coach at the University of Arizona in the late 1970s. Coach Williams had been a great sprinter in the early 1960s at San Jose State where he was coached by the legendary Bud Winter. Coach Williams frequently encouraged people to relax instead of simply trying harder. Where did this come from?
It came from Bud Winter who had developed a philosophy of high level performance that can be summarized as “relax and win”. Some of this had to do with specific form and technique drills he advocated, and some of it was about a mental approach to competition. It also has striking parallels to the psychological concept of Flow.
Nose around budwinter.com and you will get some insight into Winter’s approach. There is also a video of him at practice conducting his iconic form drills.
During the Olympics we are going to see many examples where the margin of victory will be incredibly small. In many of these cases, the winner will be the athlete who can retain their focus, form and rhythm when their whole body essentially feels like it is on fire. In 2008 Michael Phelps was the poster boy for this.
This concept was also covered by Mary Pilon in the NYT in a recent series on 400m runner Amantle Mashto. I was also struck by another piece by Mary in the Times on Wesley Williams, a superb blind long jumper and how committed he must be to the type of relaxed focus taught by Winter.
The question for us all is how to apply these concepts throughout the day.
This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 25th, 2012 at 8:05 am and is filed under Current Events, Elite Sports Performance, Physiology. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.