The Man in the Arena
An Ode to My Critics
It is amazing that coaches who have accomplished so little can find the time to criticize those of us who work for a living. I guess the beauty of being painfully unemployed is that there is plenty of time to keep up with the writings and workings of your enemies. Strangely, most of the latest criticisms revolve around my own desire to improve my program.
The beauty of this is that I admit a mistake and that opens the door for criticism. The criticism is that I have no system, no principles because of my frequent changes. The intellectual critic punishes the coach for learning. It’s a funny world.
The real beauty is that the critic has no audience, a tree falling in the woods and no one hearing. However, the greater beauty is that the criticism reminds me of the great quote below and continues to strengthen my resolve to improve my program and my athletes.
The Man in the Arena
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” — Theodore Roosevelt
This wonderful quote from Theodore Roosevelt goes out to all the internet experts who never write articles but, consistently post criticism of what other have written. They are never “The Man in the Arena”, instead they are the fan in the stands shouting at those who play.
Great minds like Columbus and Galileo were ridiculed by small minds. Sports has the term Monday Morning Quarterback. Strength and conditioning has internet experts.
It is amazing how many experts there are who know all the answers after all the questions have been answered by someone else. You know what I want to know? Have they ever even heard Paul Hodges or Stuart McGill speak in person? Have they ever conversed with these people?
Paul Hodges has done one person deep needle EMG studies on himself because he could not find subjects. Stuart McGill travels around the world and has spent thousands of hours researching the spine.
The average internet critic has spent hours trying to find the hole in the argument, to celebrate briefly the “I gotcha moment” alone in a room. The highest compliment one can achieve is to be the subject of mindless criticism. It indicates that you have truly made it.
Michael Boyle is one of the foremost experts in the fields of Strength and Conditioning, Functional Training and general fitness. He currently spends his time lecturing, teaching, training and writing. In 1996 Michael co founded Mike Boyle Strength and Conditioning for one purpose: to provide performance enhancement training for athletes of all levels.