June 19th, 2024

Putting it all together

By None on June 29, 2018.

Making it all come together is a science, and perhaps one of the toughest aspects of sport to grasp. Athletes spend years training to be the best of the best, but throughout their career will fall short of success on more than one occasion. That is almost guaranteed, but the allure of success is what keeps them pushing forwards.

Sometimes you may feel as though you’ve been successful in one aspect of your training or competition, but failed in another. How do you get them to all work together, and will it ever all happen at the same time?

I regularly ask athletes about their goals and dreams, and specifically what are they working on achieving next. They often work in chunks, maybe working on their strength for example, and once they’ve gotten to a level they feel comfortable with, they’ll start trying to work on the next part of their training, maybe nutrition, let’s say. We often try to get more than one thing at once. Ask any parent; it’s the only way! However, we can become overwhelmed, burnt out, and distracted by doing this, and therefore complete much less than anticipated.

In sport, you don’t want to only work one thing at a time. There needs to be balance, and often this balance will allow an athlete to see constant and consistent improvements, as well as keep them excited to continue their training.

Let’s stick with improving strength as our example, as it works for every sport, activity, and level. If you’re looking to work on your strength, you may think you should hit the gym and pump some iron. Big muscles are the only way to be strong, aren’t they? Nutrition couldn’t have anything to do with your strength, could it? Same with flexibility, recovery, sleep, mindset, or technique? Well of course they do!

The body must be a well-oiled machine whose parts work in sync and in tandem with each other. The mind is no exception. If you’re working on building strength, it is crucial that you’re believing in yourself, seeing yourself as strong, and telling yourself you can do it when lifting that last heavy set. These are just a few parts of your mental game and the confidence, imagery, and self-talk, that are described previously are examples of how you can further advance your success in strength building.

See Challenge, Page A10

So think about the last goal that you were working towards; did you isolate your focus, or did you broaden your development in order to increase your overall success? Regardless of what you’ve done previously, know that you can affect change and can make some improvements and adjustments in your next endeavour. As you move forward, think about the ways in which your body can work together to help you achieve success. It will make your life easier, I promise.

If you’ve set a goal (mental), improved your technique, consulted your diet, taken care of your body, believed in your training, focused on your drills and exercises, tracked your progress, gotten excited by that progress, become more motivated to stick to it, you’ll continue to see progress in all areas simultaneously. You’ll feel a sense of equality and balance in your development, as well as overall strength and pride in yourself.

You were able to make these changes, you were able to advance yourself, and you have given yourself this edge against your competitors. You are a rock star! Knowing that you’ve got this power helps to strengthen that confidence and motivation even more, making you even more of a force to be reckoned with.

Now challenge yourself to look at the whole picture next time you set out to make a change. What are you capable of, and what parts of your training can help you by coming together and bringing you to a whole new level of success? Better yet, how many more things will you accomplish and triumph over now knowing you’ve got this power? Have fun, stay focused, and crush it!

Courtney Marchesin, MA, sport psychology consultant, is the mental skills coach for the Alberta Sport Development Centre’s athlete enhancement program. She can be contacted at courtneymarchesin@gmail.com.

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