On mental preparation:
“Here is one of the greatest tools that I have learned in my career. The (1984) Olympic Trials race where I ran 8:17.0, that was an example of this, called pre-determining. Pre-determining is incredibly powerful. (A runner can) determine before the race that, number one, if you get wiped out over the steeplechase barrier, you’re not going to roll around on the ground. You’re going to get up and finish the race. When you pre-determine that, you know what happens? It happened to me in Athens, Greece. I got cut off at the water pit. I went into the water pit without touching the barrier, did a rotation in the air and landed on my side in the water pit. I was up like that. Same thing in Stockholm, Sweden. I went down. I was up like that. Why? I’d already made the decision that I was going to get up and finish the race.
“The race just before (the 1984 steeplechase final), Mary Slaney just had run-in with Zola Budd in the 3000 meters. (Slaney) got knocked to the infield and she laid in the infield. Her dreams were crushed because she didn’t have a pre-determination that if she went down, she was going to get back up and finish that race. Because Mary Slaney had the ability to get up and finish that race and probably win. Lasse Viren in the Munich Games of ‛72 ... he got knocked down, he got up and he finished and he won the race in the 5000.
“Pre-determination is powerful. Here’s what I tell my kids at Calvin. Because, this pre- determination works for a lot of things. (For example), it even works for how you want to handle pre-marital sex. (You can) determine before, ‛You know, I’m going to save myself for my spouse.’ You know what, when you get in the heat of the battle and things are really going well, if you’ve already determined beforehand that, ‛No, I’m going to save myself,’ pre-determining is so strong that you can say no. If you wait until that moment in the heat of the battle, what’s the decision going to be? I’m not saying right or wrong, I’m just saying the power of pre-determining is incredible.
“If your athletes go into a race and they say, beforehand, ‛There’s no way that this pack is going to lose me. There’s no way. I’m going to stick on his back – stick, stick, stick, stick. The only possible way that they’re going to beat me is, they’re better than me on this day. And I’m going to go out there and give it everything that I have.’”
“You have to put some stuff in the bank for this to work. But the power of the mind is
More from Brian Diemer:
Preparing for the 1984 Olympic Trials
The 1984 Olympic steeplechase
Brian Diemer’s coaching philosophy