Dec 15, 2017
Culture is Key, Part 2
Danny Olszowy

When taking over a new team, building the right culture can be elusive. In Part 1 of this article we looked at expectations.

The second necessary step will be a byproduct of the first. It is to create accountability. Accountability breeds excellence. Excellence is only accomplished through consistently high expectation levels and the accountability of yourself and your athletes. An example of that accountability starts with enforcing that your athletes show up 15 minutes prior to when the workout begins. (There are extenuating circumstances that may not make this possible, such as coming directly from practice or class.)

This particular rule is very simple to implement because it is both fair and consistent. From day one, they know they cannot show up any later than 15 minutes prior to when their workout begins without consequence. They are told from the beginning so they know what you expect.

Another example would be telling your athletes to start with their left leg forward on a split squat and if someone decided to not listen, a consequence would ensue. That consequence could be for that individual or the whole team. Such a decision would be up to you and your preference and knowledge of how to deal with that particular group of athletes.

These details may seem insignificant and meaningless to athletes, but it is important for them to understand that every single little thing they do right or wrong matters. It is most often the small things that lead to excellence!

The same thing holds true in competition. When a baseball pitcher is told to throw the ball on the lower outside corner on the black and they miss, with the pitch going middle in, the result could be a batter hitting a homerun. If a soccer defender is caught ball watching and loses his man, he might get beat for the game winner in closing minutes. The point is: if you think that purposefully about everything that is done in a weightroom or a training session you will accomplish your end goals.

Our training sessions should entail far beyond just getting someone stronger and more powerful. Sure, those things are desirable and necessary, but I would argue that what really sets apart a great team from a good one is attention to detail. At the highest levels, the physical abilities are so comparable the only way to win championships is to execute the game plan better, which comes down to discipline. The discipline that is created by holding each other accountable for everything everyone does all the time. With elite athletes, the details matter, which is what allows them to have such tremendous success.

Danny Olszowy, CSCS, USATF, is a Performance Training Specialist for SPECTRUM, Inc., in Orlando, Fla.

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