Pumping Iron: Not-Invented-Here

Pumping Iron: Not-Invented-Here
Dr. Cory Dobbs
The Academy for Sport Leadership

Today every student-athlete lifts weights.   But this hasn’t always been the norm.  If you look at the black-and-white photographs of athletes from the 1960’s you’ll see mostly underdeveloped physiques.  Weightlifting began on the fringes in the 60s, and mostly in the form of machines for training.  At that time, most coaches assumed that weightlifting would harm an athlete’s fine motor skills.  So weight training remained on the periphery.

But then, a movie released in 1977 exploded on the scene and overnight created the strength industry.  A little-known Austrian bodybuilder, Arnold Schwarzenegger, breathed life into competitive bodybuilding.  Hollywood saw an opportunity and acted quickly.  Pumping Iron, a docudrama, focused on Schwarzenegger and his dedication to lifting weights to build a Mr. Universe body, triggered a movement that spilled over into almost every sport on the planet.

A fatal flaw of sports has been to shy away from training and operating methods that don’t originate within the field of the sport.  This bias is revealed in the aversion to things not-invented-here.  Not-Invented-Here is the automatic negative perception of something (such as an idea or belief) that does not originate in one’s field.  Have you read Moneyball?  Data analytics and those that wanted to explore their value were rejected, until the Oakland A’s on-the-field success proved this new way of building a team.  Today, if you look closely, you’ll see that data analytics have found a comfortable place in the world of sports. 

Here’s a short list of ideas about Not-Invented-Here.   Google each and learn a little more.

-CTE (see Dr. Bennet Omalu and Concussion the movie)
-Free Agency (see Curt Flood)
-Sport Psychology (see Thomas Tutko)

-Great Performers are Made, not Born (See Anders Ericsson)

-A Leader in Every Locker (see Cory Dobbs, Coaching for Leadership)

-Karl Dunker, (see Functional Fixedness)

Let me encourage searching for ways to improve your players, programs, and organizations by any means necessary.  Don’t approach improvement and innovation with a fixed-mindset and get caught in the trap of rejecting something because it was Not-Invented-Here.


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