Alejandro Altamirano Sandroni is a young coach in football (or soccer, as our American friends would call it). Currently, at the helm of Olímpic de Xàtiva, a 2nd division “b” team in the football-crazy country of Spain, he knows what it means when you are obliged to win. To always keep on winning, in fact.
With most football coaches axed less than a year after their appointment to the dugout, you would be hard-pressed to find a more stressful job in the whole world.
Alejandro, what are the most challenging aspects of your job as a coach?
ALEJANDRO: It is a fascinating profession. To manage, and trying to convince a group of diverse players to work together is what I like most about my job. Keep in mind that I have to deal with such different players! From 19-year-olds who are just entering the world of professional sports to players who are 34-35, with a lot of experience under their belts.
The most important thing for me is to ensure that all human relationships are strong. That is the foundation for all team endeavors, be it in football or in life in general. Working together as a group requires a good dose of humility from each of the team’s members as everyone has to give up certain aspects of their individuality for the team to prosper.
What inspired you to learn the Transcendental Meditation technique?
ALEJANDRO: There were two reasons in particular. First, a friend who always talked to me about the benefits of TM. Secondly, there came a time when I was too stressed out to enjoy doing what I actually love the most in this world – my job.
At that moment I realized that something was wrong. I decided to look for some effective tools to help me rediscover the joy in my profession.
So did you notice any changes after you learned to meditate?
ALEJANDRO: The most important change I’ve noticed is that TM brings me peace and a larger perspective on things. My experience with Transcendental Meditation is very good and I recommend it to everyone, especially now that we all live in a society of such hurry and stress.
How, in your opinion, would athletes benefit the most from practicing TM?
ALEJANDRO: I believe that the biggest benefit for an athlete is the increased level of concentration when making decisions on the go – an ultimate goal towards which all of us, coaches and players alike, strive for.
TM brings peace of mind to deal with situations under high stress and tension. And it gives a much broader view of all the moments you live through as an athlete. The serenity to take responsibility, not go around looking for excuses. As a good friend of mine says: “Do what needs to be done.” Then you start enjoying everything.