Let me first give you the context of this post: my team is standing in a straight, horizontal line. Coach Ross stands in front of us. "Pushup position," he orders and we obey. "Down," he says and we all do a push-up."Down...down...down." the speed increases, "Down, down, down, down." The push-ups continue until we reach about 40 of them. "Stand up," says Ross. "Arms straight out."
So my right arm is held straight out to my right and my left is held straight out to my left. After a minute, Ross says, "20 forward". We move our arms in little circles 20 times. After another set of circles, Ross tells us the purpose of this drill- as we're still holding our arms up.
"One of the purposes of this, is to teach you how to shut your mind off. Everyone feels pain, but you can either ignore it or give into it. You have to get into that mindset that will let you shut off the pain. I would expect and athlete like James Anderson to be good at this. In cycling, after the first mile you're already hurting..." he continued on with his speech, while I was lost in my own thought. How do I suffer? I don't shut the pain off. What do I do? I came to the conclusion that when I'm really suffering, I tell myself that pain is temporary and it will go away eventually. When the suffering does end, I'll be so happy, but if I give up, I'll be kicking myself for a long time.
It's a lot like Lance Armstrong's quote:
"Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever."
So we suffered on into the evening. We kept on with that pushup/arms out torture for about twenty more minutes. After a short water break, we did several sprints to midfield and back. When I say "several", I probably should say "7 or 8". It was pretty tough, but for the most part, I was almost always the third or fourth best finisher. Right now I am really happy that I actually trained for the soccer season, because the people who didn't train are struggling right now.
It was an intense practice, but it will make me stronger.