I have worked alongside and shared knowledge with Dustin Jones for a number of years now and his passion for bringing tried and true methods alongside progressive thinking to the profession is exceptional. Dustin brings a unique approach to physical therapy and improving his patients’ performance and well-being. He has a tremendous ability to blend new school research, evidence and rehab/training approaches to the home health care environment and his perspective goes beyond the standard approach typically taken in the home physical therapy setting.
Dustin Jones, PT, DPT, CSCS, RKC is a home health physical therapist with a background in athletic training, fitness, and orthopedics. He works to bridge the gap between fitness and rehab for older adults. He blogs at DustinJonesPT.com and teaches rehab clinicians how to utilize kettlebells on the Hardstyle Kettlebell Channel with Dr. Erson “The Manual Therapist” Religioso III.
Training for the Game of Life
Chuck is 93 years old and played collegiate football at Ohio State.
Ralph is 88 years old and played collegiate basketball.
George is 90 years old and competed in gymnastics for 10 years and travelled all over the world.
All of these men were elite athletes dominating their respective sports. Now, they’re barely able to walk and need physical therapy to be able to stay in their own home. They’re wise beyond their years and have a lot to share with the world. Yet, their bodies are failing them as they reach the later years of life.
Yet, what astonishes me is that when you talk to these men about their lives, what do they talk about?
- Their touchdown run in the 4th quarter against a major Big Ten opponent? Nope.
- Their triple-double in the conference tournament? Nope.
- Their all-around gymnastics championship in Europe? Nope.
They talk about their family, their faith, and/or their work.
This is what I want to share with you, whether you are a coach or an athlete, athletics may be a very short season of your time here on Earth. With this perspective, you are currently coaching/training for your current sport...but also for life.
If you are a coach, you are raising men/women to be great athletes...as well as helpful spouses that can do work around the house, parents that can keep up with their kids, and hard workers that can get the job done.
If you are an athlete, you are training for your upcoming season...as well as when you have to run to rescue your toddler from running onto the street, when you have to do physical labor for a friend, or when you have to take care of your sick spouse as you age.
I urge you to keep perspective. For some of us, athletics will be a big part of our lives. For most of us, it will be a short season of our time on Earth.
So what does that mean for you and me today?
You’re in the business of high performance. You need to do your job and do it well. However, you’re also an educator. You have the ability (I’d argue the responsibility) to teach men and women the skills and knowledge to lead a long, healthy life.
Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.
Let’s make this a little more applicable…
Give a man a training session and you train him for a day; teach a man how to train and you train him for a lifetime.
Whether it’s efficient movement principles, how to recover well, appropriate progressions/regressions, or proper nutrition, don’t just give orders.
Give knowledge and ensure your athletes know why you do what you do. This mindset will stretch the impact you have on your athletes long after their athletic career and into the rest of their lives. Want a good example of this? Look no further. TD has had a huge impact on his athletes and continues to do so.
You won’t play forever. Sorry, that’s just how the cookie crumbles - as my grandmother would say. Don’t be short sighted and open your eyes to the fact that the training you do today has an impact on your life after athletics. You can take steps today to ensure you have a long, healthy career and continue to be healthy after your sport.
I encourage you to be a student. Some of you are already academic students and a student of your game. You are also a student of your body. Be curious and learn what your body likes, what it doesn’t like, and how to take care of it well. Soak up as much as you can from your coaches and smart people like TD who is giving you a wealth of knowledge that will make you a high performing human now and in the future.
All of Us...
Whether you’re competing in a sport or not, we’re all athletes. We’re always athletes...our sport just changes. Today, you may be deadlifting to improve your vertical. In 10 years, you may be deadlifting to be able to pick your kid up off of the ground. We must keep perspective and train for our responsibilities today and in the future.