These thoughts are to help and inspire people like you and me to reach higher and strive for greater things, to stand for a cause more noble than self serving, seeing the good in others and seeking it for their sake. I unashamedly weave my faith, biblical insight and life experiences into a sporting context to illustrate my personal journey to this point - I hope in a small way, I can help you on your journey to being all you were intended to be....

There are now over 50 posts to check out, tweet, link to facebook or google+ Please feel free to share a link BUT If you use any of the illustrations please acknowledge the source as Phil Manchester, Bradford, England. You can follow me on twitter @philmanchester

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Strength through Resistance

It was always there. It was like a Medieval stocks mounted on a sledge built from railway sleepers. It sat menacingly in the corner of the muddy training field. The scrummage machine. They say what doesn't kill you, makes you strong. Right. This "machine" was designed for players to practice driving forward in scrums and rucks. Its rough wooden frame and weight made you feel like an ox in a stall.

The heavy machine, usually with the rest of the team and frequently the coaching staff, standing on the sledge part, was the ultimate in resistance training. The forwards had to bind together as a unit and attempt to drive the sledge and its occupants forward.

It wasn't just the physical pain inflcited by the machine.The jibes from the lightweights standing on the machine also strengthend our resolove to ram into the beast and push them off the park.Without realising it at the time, we were building both physical and mental strength. We hated that machine.

But, oh the difference on match days. As a team, we became known for our driving play in mauls, rucks and particularly in the scrum, where we would frequently drive other teams off the ball. The pain of the resitance work, paid back with interest when it really mattered.

Eight men locking arms, binding themselves together, each knowing the other seven would not hold back when it came to the physical exertion required, created a momentum that proved in so many instances to be the difference between winning and losing. The physical and mental strength carried over into other areas of the game too, as you knew someone would always be at your shoulder in support.

The opposition would put up stiff resistance, but we would notch up the effort and usually we prevailed. If we fell short, we returned to the beast of the training field for more resistance training.

Life has a nack of throwing up barriers to our progress or circumstances that seem designed to knock us of track. Sure, bashing away continuously at totally the wrong thing is pointless and requires the mindset to reassess. But there are times in life when we need to recognise some circumstances for what they are - resistance. Discovering that our dreams, aspirations, intimate relationships or the bond of friendships are worth more than the circumstances we face, creates the opportuity for us to either quit or press through the hardships or difficulties we see.

The bible records the sound advice given by the great thinker, writer and practical man of faith, Paul, to his young friend and co-worker Timothy: "keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, discharge all your duties" - don't allow the circumstances you face to de-rail you, press through the resistance and you will be able to complete or accomplish what you set out to achieve.

Resistance can be painful, but pressing through that barrier can lead to the breakthrough that we have been seeking. I've also discovered that when I'm with people of like mind, we can create momentum. Thats true in sport, in business and in our closest relationships. Strength, likemindedness and endurance are a powerful combination.

Our resistance training was painful, but ultimately it built the strength and resolve that overcame the opposition and against which resistance was futile. What are we facing today?