Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A Reflection on Kevin McMahon

****Less Is More****
In discussing training Kevin spoke of how he learned that he got more out of doing less training. He spoke of training smart and that it is not about doing more but about the quality of what you do. Recently I read an article by David Beckham who mentioned that when he was younger he would practice 30 free kicks but many times he did not focus on all 30. He found that if instead he practiced 10 and focused each one, he got more out of it. Less is truly more, as quality is emphasized over quantity.

****Recovery is a key ingredient of life and at the same time the most overlooked.****
When you train hard, your body breaks down. It is important that you allow your body the proper recovery in between workouts and this includes eating well, sleeping 7+ hours a night (and if your an athlete maybe even adding a nap in the day after a hard training session). Adequate recovery will lead to enhanced performance and the proof is in the pudding. This ties in with the concept that less is more and quality over quantity.

****We have more in common with people of the world we do than differences.****
How true this is. We often hear or read about our differences but when you travel or in Kevin's case gather with 200 countries in one stadium with 100,000 fans you begin to realize all the wonderful things you have in common. Instead of highlighting the differences which do indeed exist and if you look around they exist with the people closest to you, your neighbors, between states, between congressional districts, they exist EVERYWHERE.

So, we must accept that we are all unique and have our own genetic make-up and our beliefs, but we have so much more in common than we truly do in differences. Are the Iraqi's, Russians, Afghanies, Africans, Australians, English, Chinese, Muslim, Christian, Catholic, Buddhist, Whites, Blacks, Jews, etc bad or horrible people? In my opinion by no means, they are like me made up of DNA and other molecules, they have bones, muscles, water, blood, hearts, brains, lungs, thoughts, feelings, etc. that makes they who they are. Who am I too judge another human being for knowing, doing, being, believing in what they know best and have been 'trained' in. Respect and Compassion for all.

****Having someone special to share with brings more meaning to what you do****
It is the relationships we have and build that matter most. As Kevin mentioned having his good friend, competitor and training partner walk with him at the opening of the Olympics in Atlanta, representing their country, hearing the crowd cheer, flash bulbs pop made his experience far more special and something they will share forever. It is this and the other relationships that he developed in his years of competing that he treasures, not the medals, first place finishes but the people and experiences he shared in. Open your doors and allow others into your life, into your heart and share in theirs experiences.

****Supplements are not the answer****
Touchy subject for certain but I too am of the believe that supplements are not the answer. Instead eating well, resting and preparing/training smart will make you what your are or will become. The supplement industry is questionable and as Kevin mentioned not all are created equal and often times fail to provide what you pay for. There is far more to this subject but I am not a fan of this and I appreciate an athlete who competed at the highest level mention that supplements played no role.

****There is no magic pill****
What else needs to be said! Get out move your body, eat well, and allow your body/mind/cells to recovery! Plus, actually working for it and doing it naturally is extremely rewarding on levels behind the minds eye.

****It is not a matter of strength but technique and skill****

The results do not come in the gym and with big numbers on lifts but come through practice and development of your technique and skill. And after the show Kevin took it a step further and mentioned the importance of mental training. Being strong and having muscle is not necessarily a 'bad' thing but it is not the answer. The Central Nervous System and how it interacts with your ability to use physics, geometry, trigonometry, and intuition will get you further than just being big and strong. Sport is a skill and according to the Law of Specificity, practice your specific skill to improve your skill.

****Respect your competitors****
What could be surprising to some was the amount of respect that competitors have for each other. Often we hear athletes talk negatively about their opponents in an effort to distract, etc. However, sport and competition is far more than about winning, which is the American way, it is about bringing your best, competing at your highest level and in the process challenging others to do the same all in an effort to bring the best out in yourself and each other. We athletes should respect each other. (I know many do indeed but it is important to use this opportunity as a reminder)

****The Olympics is far more than about Medals, it is about the Overall Experience****
Although Kevin did not win any medals in the Olympics, he was very successful in other world and competitive events, winning and placing in a number of other major events. But like he said, he has no mementos or such things on his walls at home. He does have things stored in the garage and the thing that he relished most was the experience and relationships...the jumpsuits he received from fellow competitors and the Hammer he has from the Atlanta Games stamped with the Logo. Few will win, many will train, many, will make the team, compete for the team but most will 'fail' in their attempt to win a medal. However, all will have to opportunity and experience to represent their country, work hard and prepare learning major life skills in the process and developing long lasting relationships and memories that will last a lifetime. Life is more than winning, it is living and experiencing all the moments we have.

****Eat Well, Feel Well, Perform Well****
We barely touched on this as time ran out but Kevin did mention the importance of eating well to live and perform well. Few points on what this means are many, and I have mine as Kevin does his. The key is to do it, and live it!

****Give Back****
As a result of Kevins experience from the moment he saw Ed Burke in the 1984 Olympics walking with the American flag to the time they spent together training and preparing Kevin for his efforts, Kevin has never forgot what this meant to him. And now, he wants to give back and say thanks by sharing his knowledge and experience with young athletes who wish to better themselves. Kevin and I both believe in the value of Altruism and giving back. It is in giving we receive. So take time and show those who have shown and spent so much of their time helping you that you appreciate it by passing on your wisdom to people and if you can do so freely every so often, it sure does feel good.

I hope today's show, this reflection, Kevin's depth of wisdom and experience that he expressed our some gifts we can share with you and yours.

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