4 Lessons My Baby is Teaching Me

In Editorial Column by Chris Ritter0 Comments

Sorry for the break in blogging the past few months. My wife and I just welcomed our first child – Bennett Alden into the world a few weeks ago. It’s been an amazing experience. You know that you were meant to be a coach when you’re excited to see how your baby’s motor skills develop and probably get over excited about little things, or maybe that’s just what being a dad is about. There have already been so many changes in the few weeks since his birth – it’s truly amazing how incredible the human body is and getting to watch it develop up close.

In-between diaper changes and calming him down I’ve noticed a few things already that can relate to you in training, performance or just plain life itself.

1) Breathing dictates everything else
Where your breathing originates from directs your body’s response and state of being. Deep belly breathing promotes relaxation. Right before Bennett gets upset, every single time, his breathing shifts from belly breathing to short and shallow breathes from his chest and neck. I know that I’m making progress not when he stops crying but when his breathing finally shifts.

The next time you’re in a stressful environment or situation, whether training or competition think about where your breath is originating from and let your body stay in a more relaxed state.

2) You are flexible
Yes even you have the potential to be flexible. Why? Because you were a baby once and they’re really flexible! I’d be the first to argue against this point. I think of myself as much less flexible than others. But watching Bennett, who has half of my genes, be able to practically put his foot in his mouth has got me wondering where my flexibility has gone, because I was once that way.

I truly think it’s just about using your flexibility or losing it. And most of us live our lives in a manner that inhibits our flexibility over time and decades down the road we could never imagine being as flexible as we once were. It’s simply a matter of consistency to maintain or re-gain the flexibility that we all once had. Rolling around and reaching on the floor is probably the first step to re-gaining your mobility, Bennett seems to really enjoy stretching.

3) Wanting something narrows your focus
This is extremely evident when it’s feeding time. Bennett’s ability to not be distracted or amused by anything else when he’s hungry is pretty remarkable. I sure that all babies are like this but it’s the first time I’ve really had an up close view of this 24/7.

Yes I know that it’s one of the most basic and deeply rooted instincts but imagine what you could accomplish if you had that kind of focus. Not once in a while, but every day, every hour. What if you focused your energy in once direction and just went for it? You’d probably surprise yourself, even if you only did that half the time!

4) Floating in the water is fun
We’ve created the routine of giving Bennett a nightly bath before he goes to bed for the night. I really think this is his favorite part of the day; it may even rival feeding times! He looks so happy and content and sometimes he’d stay in there for hours if he could.

Remember we all first developed in water. It’s a natural environment for us. But much like our flexibility if we don’t revisit it, on a regular basis, we lose the connection and fun we once had. So treat yourself this week and go find a pool, lake, river or some body of water and float around and enjoy.