We can’t see it. We can’t hear it. But we can feel it. Not in a haptic sense, but we FEEL it. It is not there. But it is in between.
When I was playing College Football for the University of Wisconsin we were sitting in the auditorium one morning getting ready for team meetings before practice. One of our coaches came in and he looked torn apart. He walked up to the podium, took in a big breath and we all suffered in silence for a felt eternity, before he opened up to us why he was radiating this weird mixture of love and pain.
„Yesterday my father died“, he said with a shaking voice.
The room was completely silent and we all felt parts of his pain. It brought tears to our eyes. In parts because of his pain, and in parts because of the level of trust he gifted us with by opening up to us this way.
„My father was born in 1933 and lived until 2006. On his tombstone it will say ‚1933-2006‘…”
He took time with his words. He made long pauses. He was putting all his energy together to not melt away in complete tears and agony. It was important to him to share this incredibly painful moment and the lessons he learned from these moments with us.
„…but it is neither about 1933, nor is it about 2006…“
When we in the room dared to look around we saw nothing but empathy. A room full of grown men with watery eyes.
„…it is about the dash in between…“
That hit me. That hit all of us. „The dash in between“. The fucking dash in between. IN BETWEEN!!
This idea of „IN BETWEEN“ grew inside me. This idea was like a seed growing into a bigger and bigger plant inside of me. I was never quite able to articulate it. But you know when you just feel something without being able to find the right words for it? It might take you years to be able to find the right words for what you are feeling. Actually that was in 2006 and it was not until a moment in 2016 that I was able to find words for it. It took me 10 years.
I took this idea and built all of my coaching around this idea without actually realising it on a rational level. What does this idea mean?
You know we can look at the world and see the things that „ARE“. For example there might be a person. And there is another person. What you see is two people. Whats the valuable thing here? Person 1? Person 2? Both? No.
It is not about either of the people we see. It is about something we cannot see. It is about what is between them!
There is a wall, there is another wall, and two more walls. The actual value they create is what is between those four walls! The walls create a room to live in. Without the in between, the walls would be useless.
There are atoms. But what helps these atoms to become something larger than themselves is the energy in between. The balance of attraction and repellion between atoms is what ultimately forms this universe.
There are atoms. But what helps these atoms to become something larger than themselves is the energy in between. The balance of attraction and repellion between atoms is what ultimately forms this universe. Klick um zu Tweeten
I was first able to articulate this concept for me in 2016 when a friend of mine told me about this art exhibition in Berlin, which was about the concept of „In Between“. It was called „Zwischenräume“, which is German for „Rooms in between“.
Now, how does that translate to coaching and the process of sports development? I work in pro sports for about 10 years now, and for the longest time I did not know how to answer the question : „Gerrit, what do you think is the key to your and your teams success in helping athletes?“. I mean, there is nothing that I or anybody of my team did special if you look at it from the outside. We sleep, we train, we eat. If you take pictures of our training, it looks like training. If you take pictures of what we eat, it looks like food. There is nothing magic in the actual things.
But what I found out over the years, is that there is something unique about the in between. It is not about the training session. But it is about what you do in between training sessions. It is not about a set of squats, but is about what you do in between the sets of squats.
It is not about us as coaches, or the medical team, or the sports coach, but it is about the energy in between all of us.
That is the TRUE value of what me and the ALLOUT team did in coaching. It is not knowing what things to do. But it is to feel what not to do. How to fill the in between. How to interact and create the bow of energy in between.
I share this story and my insights not to brag, but rather to give hope and love to other coaches or individuals out there that might have the same struggle I was facing for the longest time. Your power might not be in the actual things. Your superpower might be the „in between“. Embrace it!
I was listening to Alan Watts around 2 years ago. It was the Audiobook „Out of your mind“. He starts the reading with the fundamental philosophical difference between the West and the East. In the west we see the world as „matter“. The world is made of things. This starts with fundamental stories of our origin. In Genesis it says : „God created man out of the dust of the earth“. It is a conceptually materialistic view of life. We are made out of stuff.
On the other hand, in the East they view the world as energy. As resonance, as harmony. As a wave. An Eastern child would never ask its parents : „How was I made?“. This question is a materialistic conception of creation. An Eastern child only asks „How did I grow?“. It is organic, it is wave-like. So is the west good at stuff, and the East good at energy? Is there an in between? A synergy?
Lets change gears a bit and lets look at the absolute frontiers of science. The fundamental limit of quantum physics is that we do not know if light is matter or a wave. Sometimes light behaves as matter, and sometimes light behaves as a wave. The fundamental limit of science, is that we actually dont know if this world is made up of matter, or if it is made up of waves. This universe is most likely both! In life, in coaching, in sports, and in health, we should embrace the importance of both. Of the stuff, the things, the matter, and also the energy, the spirit, the attraction, the waves…and the in between.
Sometimes light behaves as matter, and sometimes light behaves as a wave. The fundamental limit of science, is that we actually dont know if this world is made up of matter, or if it is made up of waves. Klick um zu Tweeten
May the FLOW be with you!
Gerrit Keferstein is a Medical Doctor specialised in Performance & Functional Medicine. He is most known for his work on the optimisation of recovery and adaptation in elite athletes.