N ow that we are in the Fall season of competition, athletes and coaches will step onto the field of play, to seek a prize for all the training that was put in during the off-season. For many of these athletes this started in December when the season was complete. This body of work includes specific nutrition training plans, extensive strength training sessions, precise speed training sessions, position skill training and film training. 

N otice that the common denominator was training. There is a huge difference between training and trying. Training takes place when there is a lifestyle of disciplines that establishes confidence for the athlete and the coaches to go out and compete. We can try all we want, but if we are unprepared, trying then falls on your natural ability. Natural ability can take some further than others, but without training you can only accomplish what you are born with.

I was reading about the City of Corinth, which is home of the Greek Isthmus Games. Paul formerly known as Saul of Tarsus, writes his letter to the people of Corinth, which we find in the book of First Corinthians. Paul and the people of Corinth understood the training it took to compete in the Greek Isthmus Games.  He talks about running and boxing to grab the attention of the Corinthians because they could relate. To run in the Greek games, a runner was required to train for ten months. If they had not done so, then they were disqualified from competing. The point was not to just win the prize, but the discipline of training to win the prize. Paul writes, “everyone who goes into the games goes into strict training” (1 Cor. 9:25a).  He is speaking of the daily consistency of living a disciplined lifestyle. This included studying, meditating, and living out the discipline. He states that he consistently trained so he would not be disqualified. He knew it was a lifestyle and not just something you try.

I love to go back home, to our family’s farm in North Carolina and shoot my guns. I own several guns that include; a Remington 1100 shotgun, a Remington Black Powder rifle, a 22 single shot rifle I had as a kid, and my Glock 40 pistol! I may shoot these guns 2-3 times a year max. I really enjoy it but just a few times a year is not going to make me a master marksman. I also love the movie American Sniper. I have watched it several times. I would love to shoot like Chris Kyle, the Navy Seal Sniper. The only problem is I am untrained. No matter how hard I try, I am going to fall back on my natural ability to shoot these guns. Which sometimes is good and sometimes not so good. His life and many others depended on his discipline of training. He was qualified to do what he did because of his training. He was living the lifestyle.
T raining is a process. Most times training goes unseen. Before social media, it was never seen! People who come to football games under the lights, do not care about what happened in the dark. All that matters is what is seen in under the lights. Before we had cell phones with all these high tech cameras, we had the old way of taking pictures with film in a camera. You would take all your pictures and the camera would tell you how many pictures you had left. Once you were out of pictures, you would take your film to the drugstore to get developed. This was a numerous process done in the dark. If the film was exposed to light to soon it would not be clear what was taken. Training must take place in the dark, where it is unseen. There are no secrets. If you have trained and have not skipped any of the processes, those who come to see the games, will see the training. Everything comes to the light! If you have skipped a process or two it will show when the lights are on.

T here are numerous 5:30 a.m. training sessions that go unseen, but at the right time, if we don’t give up, what was done in the dark will come to light.  Training is a process we all take if we want to compete for the prize Embrace the dark and train in the space that no one sees! Just like the dark room of photo processing, the light makes the picture at the very end. Keep training!
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About The Author 
David Abernethy is currently the assistant athletic director of strength training & conditioning at Furman Unversity. He is a certified member of the Collegiate Strength and Conditioning Coaches Association, the National Strength and Conditioning Association, the National Association of Speed and Explosion, and is recognized by the American Fitness Professionals Association as a Certified Sports Nutrition Consultant. Abernethy is married to the former Kelli Iddings of Denver, N.C., and the couple has a daughter, Madilyn, and a son, Brooks David.
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