Anthony Donskov is the founder of DSC where he serves as the Director of Sport Performance. Donskov holds a Masters Degree in Exercise Science & is the author of Physical Preparation for Ice Hockey.
Feed The Dog: The Importance of Discipline
I vividly remember my father as a young child being very disciplined with my brothers and me. No hats in the house, ALWAYS say “thank you”, address adults as “Mr.” or “Mrs.”, strict curfews and an appreciation for “grown ups” with many more years of experience and runway traveled. I do remember questioning my Father in high school. It seems my teenage years were spent trying to figure out why he was so “hard” on us, why little things mattered so much and why report cards had nothing to do with grades, but everything to do with work ethic, commitment and discipline. As I’ve grown, these questions have been answered and it has made me who I am today. His discipline was nothing more than love and a realization that there were consequences for my actions.
If you want to be a successful Strength Coach, it takes discipline, hours in the gym and in the books. If you want to excel in sports, it takes discipline, skipping the school dance in order to train, play and get better. If you want to loose weight, it takes discipline, avoiding certain foods, waking up in the morning to train and staying focused. Discipline should not be equated with punishment, but an elegant mixture of love and the fact that there are consequences. Below is an awesome story from one of my favorite Coaches, Lou Holtz on the importance of discipline…FEED THE DOG…EVEN IF IT MEANS WEARING A CHAIN!
“The importance of discipline involves two young men, each of whom owned a new puppy. The first young man showered his puppy with love and affection and allowed the dog to do whatever it wanted. No restrictions, only unconditional love and freedom. The other young man loved his puppy as well, but he also put a choke collar around the animal. Anytime the dog behaved improperly, the young man would tug on the choke collar. It didn’t take long for that dog to realize that there were limitations to his freedom.
A year later, the second man was able to take the choke collar off of his dog, and the dog roamed the neighborhood. The owner didn’t worry, because he knew the dog would obey his commands, that he wouldn’t bite anyone or destroy property, and he wouldn’t abuse the freedoms the owner had given him. The dog understood that actions had consequences. The first young man could not give his dog the same freedoms. If let loose, the first dog would have terrorized the neighborhood, destroyed property, and possibly harmed someone. For those reasons, the dog had to be confined indoors.
The freedom the first young man thought he was giving his dog by not disciplining him turned out to be exactly the opposite. The lack of discipline became a lack of freedom. The dog that had been properly disciplined and shown the boundaries of acceptable behavior was allowed to run free, because the owner loved the dog enough to discipline it….My job as a Coach was to prepare the young men on our teams for a life of success and happiness. That life had to start with discipline.”
It goes without saying that puppy discipline is far different than training youth athletes, but the important message is that discipline is not punishment, it is a preparation for success!
(1) Holtz Lou, Wins, Losses and Lessons, Harper Collins Publishers, 2006.