Back to Fundamentals by Terry Schroeder

Staying in the Moment

Terry Schroeder
US National Men's Team Coach
US Team Won the Silver Medal in the 2008 Olympics

Volume 3 Number 3December 15, 2010
The Keyword in Real Estate is Location and the Keyword in the sport of Water Polo is Fundamentals!

It is amazing to think that there are only 19 months to go until the Olympic Games in London.  Wow – how time flies.  There is so much to do and so little time (all of a sudden).  When I allow myself to think ahead to London, I become anxious and worry that I will have enough time to do what I need to do.  I become overwhelmed with the thought of how can I possibly keep everything in balance as we prepare the team. After all, my family needs me.  My girls are growing up fast and I certainly don’t want to miss too much of their life’s.  My relationship with my wife is the most important thing in my life and this requires time and energy.  Finally, my wife and I own a successful chiropractic practice that would be challenging to keep afloat without us being there.  Three is just too much on my plate… 

Have you ever felt this way?  I am sure that many of you can relate during this busy holiday season.  With Christmas just around the corner the stress level is way up there.  People are overwhelmed with all that have to do before the big day.  We all worry too much about what is going to happen or how we are ever going to get everything done.

I am reminded of the words of my good friend, Olympic volleyball player Karch Kirarly who when asked “How did you prepare for the gold medal?” he simply replied “I did not prepare for the gold medal, I prepared for the next play.”  This is a great reminder for all of us.

The truth is that we are USA water polo have a huge and daunting task ahead of us over this next 19 months.  We have a gigantic mountain to climb if we are going to put ourselves in a position to win our first ever Olympic gold medal in 2012.  But all the worry in the world will not help us.  We need to stay focused on today on this play.  What can I do today to make myself better?

I often challenge myself in my office to give my best adjustment to each and every one of my patients.  It is not easy to keep that level of focus all day long but I know if I stay in that moment than I will have a chance to do just that.  When I drift and begin to think about all I have to do tomorrow or how many bills I have to pay later on this evening I know that I am off.  I am no longer present and I don’t have a chance to give my best to the patient right in front of me.    

I remember when I was coaching at Pepperdine, I had a very talented player who would self destruct during the course of the game.  He would start out each game so good and than as mistakes were made or we fell behind the errors of the past or the worry about the future of the game would get to him and he would become a far less effective player.

So this is the message for the month.  Stay in the moment!  Practice and compete for each play.  Live for each moment.  Be in what that present time consciousness.  Do not get down over past mistakes.  Do not worry about what might happen tomorrow or what might happen in the next minute of the game.  Focus on where you are right now.  Learn from what you have done in the past but keep your energy focused on what you are going to do today, in this practice or in this game.  Appreciate the opportunity to play this great sport. 

The only way that I have a chance to make it to London healthy and ready for battle is to take it one day at a time.  Our mountain is out there for sure and every once in awhile I will take a glance and make sure that we are on the right course but my time, energy and thoughts are on today.  This moment is what matters most right now.  I challenge you to play and coach with this thought in mind.  My guess is that you will all be more productive and successful. 

So during this busy time of the year with Christmas just around the corner, make sure that you take the time to appreciate the reason for the season.  Make time for friends and family and don’t lose track of your exercise and diet.  Keep yourself focused on today.  Enjoy your journey.  Merry Christmas!

As always, please feel free to email me at [email protected] if you have any questions or comments about this month’s article on back to the fundamentals. 

See you at the pool.

Coach Schroeder

WATER POLO PLANET.COM: the Alternative Voice