Music And Sport

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… or probably more accurately, ‘Bands And Teams’.

I love music.

… or probably more accurately, I love the idea of music.

Don’t get me wrong, I love the music.  But maybe even more than the music itself, I love how the music came to be.  I love the stories of being immersed in music and of musicians describing the feeling of being in a great band.  Or of being in a great scene.  I love documentaries like Malfunkshun and Pearl Jam Twenty and It Might Get Loud and books like Grunge Is Dead and It’s So Easy.  Somehow I equate the ultimate feeling of creating music with the feeling of playing a great game.  I know that I’ve had the feeling on a few occasions where my team has played perfectly and or I’ve played with beach volleyball partners or teammates where understanding and trust was at the same (I guess) implicit level.  But somehow the example of a great band seems like a utopian ideal for a volleyball team.

Flea from Red Hot Chilli Peppers is always good for a quote about that feeling of great music, and recently he appeared on prominent ESPN / columnist Bill Simmons‘ podcast.  He talks about things coming together at particular times in a way that you can’t control.  At about the 27:30 minute mark of part 2 of the podcast he describes the process one has to go through to be ready for those moments that you can’t control.

‘You have to always be doing your exercises, staying technically on top of your instrument, be working on becoming a better songwriter… to be as good a musician as you can be, so when those things you can’t control come along … you’re ready. … You have to stay on top of you craft and keep yourself sharp so when the cosmic meatball hits, you’re ready to party’   

Maybe it’s just me, but that sounds quite a lot like deliberate practice.

I doubt if you could slip the description ‘cosmic meatball’ into a peer reviewed article though.

Read about the great new Vyacheslav Platonov coaching book here.Cover v2


  1. I have often thought that the “zone” you get into when playing an instrument, or a peice of music well, is very simillar to the zone you hit when you’re playing volleyball well. When your consious mind stops interfering, you go into auto pilot, and everything just works.

    But like Flea says, you need to be practiced to the point where you can execute all the skills on autopilot.


  2. There was a great quote from Bob Evans, exec at Paramount Pictures about what a producer does that makes me think about coaching. “The Producer (or Coach) is like a conductor of an orchestra. He might not know how to play everry instrument, but he knows how each one should sound like”

    There is a true pleasure in seeing a team play how it ought to, that’s like listening to music that is note perfect. At other times when the solution is unconventional, spontaneous, mercurial and elegant, it’s like jazz.

    when a team play well, the word i often use to describe is that it just “hums”


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