by Mike Davenport, CoachingSportsToday.com
I love going to the movies — the theater, the previews, the healthy eating ?
On Sunday, my youngest and I went to see a beauty — The Martian.
I’m won’t tell you how great it is, or “My God, you’ve got to see it!”
But I will tell you that the main character, Mark Watney, stuck on Mars, took actions, a lot of actions, to save himself.
While the movie was playing I kept thinking, “Ya’know, there’s something kinda familiar about what Watney is doing.”
[Spoiler alert: I am going to talk specifically about parts of the movie, so if you plan on seeing it (you should) and don’t want me to spoil it (you don’t), then for gosh sake … stop reading now (but read this after you’ve seen the movie).]
Then it dawned on me … Watney was coaching. Coaching himself. And doing a smashing job at it:
- When things went bad, he didn’t wait for rescue. It was all up to him.
- In pursuit of his goal, he wasn’t afraid to blow up a few things.
- A person unknown to him, millions of miles away, buried in an office, had an idea that saved his bacon.
- It was good to have a steely-eyed missile man on his side.
- Being part of something bigger, may require big sacrifices, he knew that and was okay with it.
- What he learned saved his life, and he was obliged to pass it along.
- Once again, duct tape was a life saver.
- Old discarded things were the exact things he needed.
- Poop and potatoes were just what the doctor ordered (if the doctor was there)
- Thinking like a pirate was what he needed to do (but don’t be surprised if those around you don’t understand if you decide to pirate-up).
Those were several of coaching-themes which bombarded me during the movie. But here’s the biggest one:
You’ll think you’re alone … you’re wrong.
Watney gets left on Mars when his fellow space-travelers evacuate. He missed the boat, so to speak. He then spends the first part of his Mars-cation with no outside contact. A familiar story for many coaches.
For instance, you have to make a hard decision — to cut a popular athlete. Or, your team just lost the big one — because of a bad decision you made.
There you stand — all alone. Isolated in your own version of deep space.
But you’re not really alone, are you? They are those out there who care, that could help, that want you to succeed. You may not know where they are, or even who they are. But they are there.
Action You Can (and should) Take
I get it — its a fictional movie. But watching someone else solve insurmountable problems (fictional or real) can be enjoyable and educational. And so can this.
When you’re stuck, feeling overwhelmed, crushed, try looking outside of yourself — especially outside of your situation. It might yield some valuable insight.