Saturday, April 29, 2023

A Few 'Old School' Success Principles - Message from Rich Sadiv

In my experiences as the head performance coach at Parisi Speed School Fair Lawn, I regularly receive questions related to my overall coaching philosophy. These discussions often gravitate around a central theme: the concept of so-called “old-school” training methodology in a modern setting. 

This approach can be jarring for athletes at first, as they aren’t always used to these enduring principles – usually through some lack of prior exposure. The reality is that many coaches subscribe to a fully modernized training mentality, implementing various trends and bodies of research as they emerge. While aspects of this approach are inevitably important, I also strongly believe in structuring training on timeless fundamentals related to both the training itself and the necessary behavioral adaptations required to maximize output. 

In this sense, the “old-school” term really isn’t necessary; quality training is quality training, and throughout the years, that has boiled down to time-tested values inextricably tied to competitive success. 

One of these values is adherence, which is sometimes that is easier said than done. That said, regardless of your sport or goal, you should be firmly committed to your purpose and beliefs – and compromise will actually come naturally. Trust me; as you probably already realize, there are a lot of people out there trying to make you do something you don’t want to do. A lot of times, these people are your friends – not really sure how. But regardless, you should approach these situations prepared to make necessary sacrifices to bolster your ability to achieve long-term success and balance. 

Adherence is a value I not only instill in my athletes – but practice daily in my own life. For instance, I stopped drinking alcohol 35 years ago – not a drop – and I felt it would be better to have clearly defined boundaries and eliminate any grey areas. I felt it was better to go all or, in his case, nothing. The strategy has proven to be very effective for me – not just with drinking, but with a lot of things I have either eliminated from my life or, on the flip side, that I have gone all in on. People would almost take it personally that I wouldn’t take a drink, almost get angry with me. I would finally end up saying, “ I don’t tell you not to drink, so I would appreciate you not telling me to drink.” I think the message has gotten across as people in my inner circle stopped being so persistent.

Another so-called “old-school” fundamental is routine. Through the years, I’ve developed a lot of positive routines; my most beneficial is getting up way earlier than I need to. What I found is it’s the only way to truly control time. Once you step out of your front door and start your day, you are at the beck and call of what the day brings. My day starts off at 3:00 AM with a large black cup of coffee. It’s just me in my rocking chair and my thoughts. No emails, no voicemails, no one looking for me. It gives me a great opportunity to review the past day, plan the current day, and sight my mind's eye on the future. 

Timeliness is also crucial in this regard. I cannot stand tardiness; it’s a quick path to bad habits and complacency, and I actively work to eliminate such tendencies in those I train. You could argue that all other training aspects revolve around being on time.

By fostering and developing such foundational values, athletes are better equipped to turn off the outside world, properly focus on their goals, and proactively put the necessary steps and training approaches in motion. These are facts that even many modernized, supposedly “new-school” methods actively put in motion – even if they aren’t fully aware of it. In almost all cases, success cannot advance beyond flash-in-the-pan unless these crucial commitments are made early and often. 

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