Ethical Muscle Memory™ – Why It Matters

Today’s blog will not discuss a particular athlete or a particular sport. Given all the recent stories from the world of sports we have not had the time to catch up and breathe! It is hard to say if it is a good thing or bad. On one hand, we always have plenty of material to blog about; on the other, we are constantly reminded how Sports Ethics training is needed now more than ever.

Sports EthicsFor athletes, coaches, teams and sports associations, it is rarely what happens on the field or rink or court that is remembered in an ethical sense. A hard hit, an illegal hit, a “cheap shot,” or even an intentionally missed shot, brings penalties. It is off the field behavior that can permanently crush a career.

Yes, I realize some on the field behaviors have been pretty bad, but I could also argue that a lot of those behaviors originated with off the field “suggestions such as bounties or comments made in the locker room between periods or halves.

What we teach

At the heart of all of our Sports Ethics programs, whether collegiate, professional or association training is a purpose and a goal that be brought down to three important words: Ethical Muscle Memory.

Whether we are teaching athletes in private consultation or in a team setting we want to communicate a message that becomes instinct.

A major league baseball player is not born learning how to hit an 85 mph curveball nor does a soccer goalie automatically know how to defend against a corner kick. These are skills taught over and over until they become instinct; from the very earliest levels to the pro-ranks.

The MLB ball player or any athlete these days, is also surrounded by a group of professional sports advisors; a staff of coaches, physicians, trainers, nutritionists, physical therapists, equipment managers, sports psychologists, locker room attendants, agents and lawyers. This team has been assembled to help the player do unbelievable things such as hitting an 85 mph curve or most any other skill. The team strives to hone the player’s natural skills to be something that becomes instinct.

Yet almost on a daily basis, athletes do unbelievably stupid things off the field. Name the sport, male or female, athletes are screwing up. Poor ethics; poor choices and miserable consequences have ended careers, reputations and cost a number of athletes and their teams millions upon millions of dollars.

Lack of ethical training

With all of the support that athletes receive, it is clear that they receive almost no meaningful training in making good off the field choices. Where are the ethical trainers? Where are the people teaching athletes how to conduct themselves away from the game?

To take it one step further, the life of a professional athlete starts when he or she is a child. No matter the sport, skills are ingrained time after time and year after year until it becomes part of the muscle memory.

What we strive to teach is Ethical Muscle Memory so that understanding about choices and consequences is part of who they are, and reflects itself in everything they do off the field.

When we talk to a group, we do not read out of a boring textbook that puts groups to sleep. Our programs are real life and they are real. Ethical Muscle Memory™ is about making good choices and following a good ethical path.

It works because we care.


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Phone: (828) 244-1400
Fax: (866) 426-4118
Chuck Gallagher
3620 Pelham Road #305
Greenville, SC 29615