I recently interviewed Cliff McCrath on my radio show. I’ve know Cliff for about seven years now. He was very kind first to my middle son Kyle back when he was a sophomore in High school and then later to my youngest Seth. Cliff, for those that don’t know, is second in wins as a soccer coach in all of college soccer. He’s in more soccer related Halls of Fame than anyone I know. Important to me is that he calls me his friend. The last of this serves little importance except perhaps as a marker suggesting that the answer I got during the interview was from his heart. It was not a question I had originally told him we would discus, but his answer I thought was clear.
I asked Cliff what was the one thing he looked for when he was recruiting a player. A lot of coaches would answer touch, speed, leadership, or a good left foot. Cliffs answer was “The Fury”. He looked into a player’s eyes and looked for “The Fury”. I thought it such a great way to describe inner drive and passion. Certainly, as Cliff described what he meant, it came out to that. It is like some inner force possesses an athlete’s being. Some refer to it as competitive fire. I seem to recall hearing both Coach Sarkasian of the University of Washington and his former boss Pete Carroll, the Seahawks head coach speak about wanting to be able to see the competitiveness in their players.
For years my younger brother Marc has been insisting I watch the movie Rudy. It is about a Notre Dame walk on football player. Don’t get me wrong, I love sports movies. I resisted because I don’t like the Golden Dome. Growing up a USC fan explains most of this, not all, but most. I saw it today. It was OK. The part that was not lost on me was that Rudy had “The Fury”. Something inside him, against all odds, drove him to put up with a great deal for a single chance to walk out into that stadium. No one had to bring it out in him, he had it, and that is why it stood out. For those not named Rudy we need to look elsewhere.
I’ve seen it for years of course. I think I once had it. It doesn’t matter to me if we refer to it as competitive fire or fury; to me the best athletes always have that fire. I love Cliffs name for it as I think it drives home the point both to outsiders and to athletes. Do you have the fury? Is it somewhere within your being? Are you driven to succeed? I am constantly reminded of the importance in understanding our own motivation for doing things. Certainly this is where it all begins. But what is it that brings out the fury in some and simple desire in others. Is it our upbringing? Is it something as simple as those that were perhaps denied something growing up have a greater fury within them? Can “The Fury” be developed?
I frequently talk with athletes that say they can’t get going until someone literally or figuratively smacks them in the mouth in a game. The have to get angry to start playing well. Is this as simple as stoking up the fury that lies just below the surface in some of us? Perhaps it is. We can do the academic discussion about how performance is regulated by an athlete’s arousal levels another time, but for now let’s simply acknowledge that often times an athlete performs better when they are in fact angry and that the fury is unleashed.
Some athletes wear their fury on their sleeves and some hide it below the surface. Some athletes, even those with great skills don’t seem to have it at all and many of those often fail in their goals to move to the level they want to achieve. I don’t think this means that you have to have a chip on your shoulder, though with many this seems to be the case. I think the secret is the ability to call upon the fury to propel you forward. This may be needed in training or in games, but somehow the best seem to be able to call upon this unique attribute at will.
The real question is can we learn this behavior if it does not seem to be part of our make up to start with. I’ve helped many people find their inner drive. I’ve helped them harness this mental attribute to push them forward. Many coaches are quite good at bringing it out in their players, at least those that recognize the trait as being critical to performance. The thing you should ask yourself is do I have this fury, this passion for life within me. If it is too deep below the surface can I find it and call upon it when needed. Most of us have this passion, this drive. Many of us have suppressed it over time. Figure out where and how you are motivated and then see if you can bring it to the surface. I love Cliff McCrath calling it “The Fury” and that is how I think I will always refer to it now. It is the perfect description. Better than Drive, better than anger and even passion, much better than arousal, it is “The Fury”. The thing which propels us forward with all of its different names is “The Fury”. Most of us have it in one degree or another and I believe that with the right mental training you can find it to help you accomplish just about anything in life. Maybe even finish this book.
This is some text prior to the author information. You can change this text from the admin section of WP-Gravatar Mike Margolies: Sport Psychology Consultants ; TheMental-Game.com Mike Margolies is a Sport Psychology Consultant, Certified Mental Trainer® (CMT), Author, and Professional Speaker. When you want to be the best that you can be and the one thing you might be missing is the right mental game - what can you do? Well, athletes from all over the country have been seeking out Mike Margolies for over three decades to help them reach their potential. His clients include professional, elite, colligate and youth athletes in every sport. They have sought his counsel and unique teaching style to learn about the game within the game, or what mental training can do to help them become the athlete they want to be. He has trained professional and elite athletes and helped guide many to world championships and even the Super Bowl. Mike has trained more than 2000+ athletes. He has taught at four Universities and completed research at the United States Olympic Training Center. His new book is called The Athlete within You- A Mental Approach to Sports and Business. He currently works with individual athletes, teams and businesses around the world, both in person and via SKYPE. Mike is based out of the Pacific Northwest. Let him encourage you to play the game within the game. The Athlete within You is waiting to come out play. Learn the rules to the mental game to help realize your potential. Read more from this author