I have officially become that “old school” guy.  The “back in my day” individual watching these new age athletes.  I don’t feel bad because so has Lebron James and he is way younger than me.

Athletes have a big advantage nowadays with all the knowledge that is out there on how to train and what you need to do to get better.  It is stupid to ignore the facts.

We will constantly rip a coach when that coach has an old school way of thinking and is getting passed by.  Either the team isn’t winning or there is disharmony.  “He needs to catch up with the modern times,” people might say.

That being said, I still feel that there are some old school ways of thinking that are very appropriate (and needed) for the modern athlete.  There are also some old school thinking that should never be thought of again.

Here are some of the old school mindsets I could think of and whether to keep them or discard them.  Feel free to add a few others of your own in the comments section below:

  • Every practice needs to be intense and long. This needs to be changed.  I know in track, you need to have quality workouts each practice, but the intensity can be varied.  Meaning, you can have a high speed workout that has a good rest inbetween runs or a workout that is more recovery based because the previous day was a tough workout.  You have to think of the bigger picture.  The continual breaking down of these athletes with tough practices on consecutive days, might gain a short term means, but eventually could cost you down the road.
  • You do not want to lift during the season. This needs to be thrown away in the garbage.  If you stop lifting, you lose a little bit of strength each week.  After four weeks, that strength drops exponentially.  So basically, if you stop lifting during pre-season, once the season begins you will have lost a lot of that strength you worked all off-season for.  In-season workouts don’t have to be as long or as intense as off-season.  They are short and sweet designed to keep your strength and power high.  Just once a week will suffice.
  • You want to be successful at something, put some hard work into it.  This is something that should never change, but today’s “ADD” kids can’t wait.  Everything is now, now, now.  Instead of laying around playing your electronics, go outside and practice your sport.  Yes, all on your own.  This is unfortunately not the first things kids think about when they want to achieve a goal in their sport.
  • Training should be adjusted for female athletes because they can’t handle the stress. I thought this mindset was gone years ago, but it was repeated to me recently by a parent who talked with his kid’s coach.  Some of the mentally toughest athletes I’ve had the pleasure to work with have been females.  They can handle just as much that male athletes can handle.  Just need to coach them appropriately.
  • Football players need to have fewer contact practices. This is actually a new wave of thinking that I think needs to be brought back to old school just a bit.  I understand about the safety concerns, but I think some of the injuries football players are getting nowadays are because the body hasn’t been hit as much.  It isn’t as prepared to absorb the contact, thus these injuries occur.  Just a theory I have.  I don’t know how much validity there is to it though.
  • We need to get them tougher by practicing in the heat and restricting fluid intake. I think this mindset is pretty much the way of the dodo bird, but there are still cases of athletes dying due to the heat.  I feel that you can practice to acclimate to it, but you need to have the proper precautions which one would be plenty of water breaks.
  • You have to push through the pain. This is a tricky one.  I know there are athletes out there that purposely try to get out of practice by faking an injury.  There are also athletes that aren’t as mentally tough and when presented with some type of ouchy, they will choose the easier path and not practice.  Kids need to develop mental toughness, but as coaches we have to be able to decipher between true pain and developing one’s mental toughness.

There are plenty of others and would love to hear what you think is an old school mindset.  Put them in the comments below and maybe we can have a discussion about them.