YOU, From Zero to Hero
Read about Alex Rose: From Zero to Hero.
Imagine you are one of the freakiest athletes on the planet. You are strong, you are fast, your mindset is typically on point, you have all of the intangibles to become one of the best in the world. But everything seems stacked against you. You sit in a car and drive hundreds upon hundreds of miles a day, you eat poorly, your training schedule is out of whack, your motivation is low. The days of listening to NPR podcasts begin to drag on and on, no longer can you handle ESPN Radio and even the conspiracy theory podcasts are driving you insane. You are lost, helpless and looking for a solution. Are you capable of saving your athletic career?
Know Your Potential
This situation is well known to many elite athletes dealing with life AND the promise and hope of making it to the Olympics one day. The vision of standing on the podium in a packed stadium, collecting a well-earned Olympic medal after years of suffering and misery.
This isn’t much different from collegiate athletes, or even the high school bruisers trying to make a name for themselves. There is a time and place to sit back and analyze, “Where do I believe I can go? Where does my coach and support system believe I can be if I trained a LITTLE bit harder?” One of the biggest keys behind Garage Strength programming is the buy in from the athlete due to the coach's confidence. We clarify the expectations from the coaches side to improve individual belief.
That is precisely where Alex Rose was after the 2019 World Championships in Doha. I remember it like it was yesterday. Alex and Sam Mattis were warming up outside the stadium, preparing for qualifications in the Middle Eastern heat. Getting blasted by the hot sun and humidity while the Islamic Call to Prayer echoed off the stadium. It was time to roll.
We entered the stadium, Alex and Sam both warmed up extremely well. Sam went off, hit the qualifying standard and earned himself a spot in the World Championship final. Alex did not. The standard was right at his fingertips. He could sense what it took to make the top 12 and yet it seemed so far away.
Skip to 7:20 for Sam's big throw!
To add insult to injury, while we were watching the TV replay, it became clear that Alex had the fastest speed of release out of the ENTIRE field! Smashing his finish at 25.2 meters per second, Alex was in solid physical form but his technique did not align. Frustration set in as we celebrated Sam’s success, Alex was simply left to wonder...what if?
The Turning Point
Two days later we prepared Sam for the final. Alex and I spent time discussing his next step but the main focus was on Sam and how we could help him earn a top 8 performance. Sam warmed up outside the stadium and we then walked toward the holding area.
We were surrounded by giants. Behemoth discus throwers everywhere. You could cut the intensity with a knife, everyone was focused on the task at hand. As we dropped Sam off, we wished him luck and turned around, heading toward the coaches box within the stadium. That’s where it hit me.
Alex looked at me and said, “You are one of only 11 coaches in the world feeling this. Dane, you should be so proud.
I turned away, trying to hold back the emotion, trying to be the tough guy, when all of a sudden Alex cut the silence.
“Fuck man. I will be in that group in 2020. I am not letting this bullshit happen anymore.”
That was the start of the turning point. Sam threw well, he missed the top 8 but competed like a beast. Behind the scenes, the tide was turning for Alex. I spent the next 3 days discussing with him what I believed he could do.
Throw 68-70 meters.
Make the Olympic final.
These goals may sound nuts but Alex Rose has achieved incredible feats within his discus career all while working 50+ hours a week.
I left Doha on a 12 hour flight to New York City. I spent most of that time writing down what Sam and Alex needed to improve upon. Most of which was telling Alex what I felt he was able to accomplish.
Another 6 hour flight to San Diego and I landed and opened my phone to a voice message, “Dane, I need you to tell my wife what you think I can do.”
This was the closing of the turning point. I will never forget standing in the parking lot near the San Diego Convention Center, messaging Alex and his wife through a walkie-talkie app, telling them what I believed Alex could accomplish if he focused entirely on the 2020 Olympics.
“Alex has the ability to shock the world, to be one of the best out there. He needs to throw 5 days a week and lift 5 days a week and I believe he can bring home a medal and shock the entire throwing world.”
Check out the programming Alex uses!
I said this with confidence. I said this feeling the emotion of this accomplishment. I sensed Alex training full-time, accomplishing his goals, living the dream, becoming a medalist, shocking the world.
As I stood in the parking lot, tears streamed down my face. I recognized this was a pivotal point in Alex’s career and he was mature and prepared to take the leap.
It’s been 5 weeks of full time training. FIVE WEEKS.
Alex has improved his technique, he has improved his accountability, he goes to Yoga twice a week, he is getting stronger in the weight room, hitting 435 for a set of 4 on bench press while learning how to snatch more effectively!
His progression is incredible. He feels the movement, he understands the goal, he has the incredible support of his badass wife and he is ready to roll. In just FIVE WEEKS, Alex has accomplished the unfathomable.
He has thrown the FURTHEST indoor discus throw ever on American soil. He understands the situation he has grabbed, he understands the magnitude of the opportunity and he is prepared to continue to conquer his goals. Alex currently sits with the second furthest indoor mark out of all active discus throwers, he has one of the best indoor throws of all time and the growth will continue to roll.
How did this happen? By seizing an opportunity. By recognizing it was time to capitalize on the present situation and to grow not only as an individual but also as an athlete.
When athletes recognize what is in front of them, when they understand their potential lines up with their goals and dreams, they are forced a unique hand. Do they want to make a sacrifice or do they want to live a life of “what if’s?”
Dreams can be achieved by virtue of hard work and sacrifice. The sacrifice to hone your craft, to engage in constant positive progression, to embark upon a journey of challenges and roadblocks all for the emotional experience that few will ever experience or understand.
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Do you find yourself struggling to make a commitment to a certain task or goal? Is the unknown holding you back from accomplishing your dreams? Comment below and share your own personal story on becoming the BEST version of yourself!
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