What I Learned from Watching Creed-Part I

That’s right people, I am back at it again! I just watched Creed for about the 10th time and just like the many Rocky movies that came before, it is a wealth of knowledge for any athlete. Just like my Rocky IV article, I’m going to focus on how it applies to weightlifting but it can crossover to any sport. It also should be said that this may contain some spoilers so please be sure to watch the movie first before reading on. Now there is a lot of points that are going to be made from this movie so I have decided to make this a two-part article. So without further ado let’s dive in!

Apollo Was the Best

After countless years of sleepless nights, trying to figure out who won the third fight between Rocky and Apollo at the end of Rocky III, we finally get our answer. To my surprise, Apollo came out on top. I’m not entirely sure why this surprised me originally. In Rocky III Apollo is helping Rocky get the “eye of the tiger” back by coaching and training with him. Throughout the majority of this, Apollo is running circles around Rocky and looks like the man who should be fighting Clubber Lang instead. So it makes sense that Apollo would be in just as good of shape if not better shape when they went for their 3rd fight. Rocky summed up the massive amount of respect he had for the great Apollo Creed in just a few short sentences when Adonis asked him how good Apollo was. He simply said “Apollo? Yeah, he was great. Perfect fighter. Ain’t nobody ever better.” It may not sound like much but Rocky was and is considered one of the best boxers of all time and for him to say no one was ever better speaks volume to just how good Apollo actually was.

If You Want It, You Got to Go Get It

It is pretty clear from the get go that Adonis wants to be the best boxer he can become. Throughout the movie, he is constantly making choices and sacrifices to pursue his dream. From doing fights in Mexico just to turn around and go straight to work, to quitting his job so he can train full time, to disappointing his mother with his choices, to moving out to Philly to train with Rocky, and even eventually moving in with Rocky so he can focus on training 24/7.

None of these choices necessarily make sense or sound smart to the general population but for an athlete these choices make all the sense in the world. Anything and everything an athlete can do to get closer to their goal of greatness they should, no matter how strange it may seem to others or even yourself. How bad do you want it?

Want to Be the Best? Train with The Best

As stated earlier, Adonis had a clear goal to become the best. He knew if he was going to become the best he would need to train with the best. So go train with Rocky, right? Not exactly. I think it’s important to note that Adonis first sought out Duke’s son, Tony “Little Duke” Burton. Now this is not to say that Adonis thought Tony was a better coach than Rocky but what it does show is he was looking for the best! After being turned away, Adonis tried his luck with Rocky and got turned down again. Knowing that he needs to train with the best he heads to Mickey’s Gym, Rocky’s old stomping ground, knowing it will at least be a good atmosphere for training. As we know, Rocky does end up eventually coaching him. Adonis had the good sense, no matter what, to go to some of the best places and best people to get his training, knowing that’s what it takes to become the best.

Old School is the Best School

Constantly throughout the movie you keep hearing Adonis throwing around the term “old school”. Referring to the so called outdated methods that Rocky uses to train him like chasing a chicken and moving in with Rocky so he can start training camp for his next fight. He does embrace it though, not asking any questions and just diving in. Now you also notice that there are some new things that Rocky has Adonis do that you don’t see in any of the other Rocky movies. One of the “new school” methods that comes to mind is a clip where you see Adonis running on a treadmill wearing an elevation mask. Clearly Rocky never did any training wearing an elevation mask but he allows and sees the benefits of it.

Now in the world of weightlifting we don’t use elevation masks but there are plenty of supposedly new ways to train, exercises, recovery work, and whatever else you want to call it. Some of these things are just new “fads” and some prove to be beneficial. I’m not getting into exactly what I believe works and doesn’t. But one thing that I can say and know is 100% true is that if you want to become a good weightlifter you are going to have to stay true to some of the old school methods. You have to snatch, clean & jerk, and squat. At times you’re going to have to do it heavy as well. There is a time and place for your accessory work, variation lifts and partial movements. But one guarantee is that if you never do the full lifts, you won’t succeed at the competition lifts. Old school is always the best school!

Rocky Knows His Limits

The Rocky we see in Creed is a much different Rocky than we are used to seeing in the other Rocky movies. He’s older, a bit more brittle, and no longer has an interest in boxing of any form.  He does eventually decide to try his hand at coaching after Adonis’ persistence. Rocky realizing how age has taken a toll on his body, knows that in order to coach Adonis properly and fully, he is going to need help. He can’t do it all. Just like Adonis had done earlier, Rocky went for the best guys he knew to bring into their corner.

This is the sign of a good and smart coach. Granted in weightlifting there is no sparring or bag hitting. Mainly a weightlifting coach does just that, they coach and program. But, there are times and circumstances where maybe the coach knows he or she isn’t the man or woman for the job. Maybe the lifter’s mental game is lacking and the coach doesn’t have the ability to strengthen it for them. A good sports psychologist might be the answer. Maybe the lifter has a continuous nagging injury and the coach can’t figure it out. A good physical therapist might be the answer. These are easy examples and make sense but the fact of the matter is no coach knows everything. If they say they do, they’re more than likely not a great coach. A good coach isn’t so prideful to hold their athletes back, instead they seek out the best help for their athletes when needed. (emphasis on seeking out the best) Again if you want to be the best, you must seek out the best!

We’re going to go ahead and stop here this week but be sure to tune in next week for part two! Also if you want to know what I learned from Rocky IV, click here!