Bring It In: Comfortable Discomfort

How can we help our players push themselves to be better?

Lauren Sadler goes huge for a bid at 2015 College nationals.
Lauren Sadler goes huge for a bid at 2015 College Nationals. Photo: Jolie J Lang — UltiPhotos.com

Bring It In is a coaching-focused column by Keith Raynor.

There are idioms in ultimate coaching that have spread widely across the States. Some have even become popular enough to have the pendulum swing the other way,1 as their overuse leads to additional dissection, correction, or just plain eye rolls. A few are unique to ultimate — some as ancient as yelling “it’s coming back!” when the pull is clearly 40 yards out of bounds — and still others lifted right out of the mouths of experts from more established sports or cultures of development, such as those of the corporate or health and wellness worlds.

One I’ve heard more frequently in ultimate over the past five years: “get comfortable being uncomfortable.” A Google search of this phrase yields 143 million results, dwarfing the 88 thousand from “control the uncontrollables,” so this phrase is orders of magnitude bigger than ultimate. It has TED Talks and Forbes articles and is used as much in offices as in huddles.

But sometimes a thing is popular because it is good. So while I doubt the phrase is novel to you, let’s talk about what it means, and then what it actually looks like for your team.


  1. I’m looking at you, “control the controllables.” 

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  1. Keith Raynor
    Keith Raynor

    Keith Raynor is a Senior Editor and the Business Development Manager at Ultiworld. He co-hosts our Deep Look podcast and does play-by-play and color commentary. He coaches UConn Rise, the college's women's team. You can reach him by email (keith@ultiworld.com) or on Twitter (@FullFieldHammer).

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