First of all, lets look how we would define a high performance athlete:
An individual who participates in performance sports with the purpose to excel, win championships and represent their club, school, organization or country at the highest level possible. Characterized by dedication, focus, intelligence, and work ethic. An athlete is hard-working, goal oriented and possesses superior team work and leadership skills. An athlete has plans for the future outside of sport and often acts as a role model working and volunteering within the community.
People look up to athletes, watch them for entertainment, expect them to showcase superior skills, abilities and put out a good performance every time they compete. But what many people don’t see is that athletes, like normal people, can fall into pits of doubt, and run into roadblocks and obstacles that threaten their success, their drive and yes even *gasp* their ingrained competativeness!
If you have ever said things like this:
I’ve lost motivation,
I don’t have time
I’m too stressed out
I’m not good enough
I don’t understand this
I won’t win anyway
What’s the point
I’m just not inspired
If you’ve ever heard a friend, a parent, a coach, or classmate say to you;
It’s too late
You don’t want to do that
You might not be good enough for that
Maybe you should focus on something else
Then you may find yourself heading into one of these self doubt roadblocks.
But, ultimately, being a truly successful athlete, a truly successful student, or even a truely successful person, is not about being perfect all the time. It is how about how you identify those mental and physical obstacles, and the strategies you use to overcome them.
I know if you are reading this that you are an athlete, are raising an athlete, or are coaching athletes. And we all know that ATHLETES are some of the most stubborn, competitive, self driven, perfectionists ALIVE!
I’m right aren’t I?
So, as an athletes, what do you do if you hear that negative voice inside your head, if someone tells you it can’t be done, or its too late, or not this time? An athlete doesn’t take no for an answer. period. An athlete finds a way to get it done.
If you are battling that negative commentary from your peers, family, or even your own voice of doubt here are two phrases, that are absolute gold, that you can repeat to yourself to keep you on track, mentally focused and ready to jump back into the competition.
“I can do that!”
“Watch me do it”
These phrases are like MAGIC! watch this…
You’re not good enough – oh yeah? Watch me do it.
He is better than you – But I can do that too
It’s too late – Watch me do it anyway
I am so stressed out – I know I can do it!
Here’s an example of how I have used these phrases in my life.
I went to a university I picked primarily because of the team and the coach, and was lucky to have a big athletic scholarship. And while I felt pressure to perform and compete on the field I also knew that choosing the right career was very important to me. I started in general studies, and as my first year progressed I realized that what I really wanted to do, was Architecture School. My coach thought I was nuts. Then I met with the Dean of the Architecture School, and he hought I was nuts. It’s just not done they said. No varsity athlete has ever made it through the architecture program, they always end up switching majors. But I’m a little bit stubborn; I knew what I wanted. And I’m a little bit competative and if someone tells me “no you can’t” or “no one else has successfully done this” then my response has always been “watch me do it”
Getting that challenge done is not always…scratch that…it’s NEVER easy. Doing the impossible, and proving the doubters wrong is never easy. It takes a lot of goal setting, it takes a lot of planning, it takes a lot of time, it takes a lot of time management. It takes a lot of communication, team work, blood, sweat, tears the list goes on. But in the end….
“Watch me do it” I said
And I did. I graduated from University with a Masters of Architecture degree, the first varsity athlete at my school to ever do that. I competed, started and succeeded on the field for 4 amazing years as an athlete. My team won championships, I have rings (multiple) I won some personal acolades, I was a member of the Student Athlete Council, I was a member of the architecture honour society and other academic groups. I graduated with honours.
I’m not putting this out there to brag, but rather to show you that you can achieve success, while overcoming some huge obstacles, and despite other people around you thinking it’s not possible.
What people don’t see is the hours I spent in the studio, the pillow I kept under my desk so I could get some sleep before practice. The classes I went to just for a nap because I knew someone would wake me up when everyone else was leaving. The classmates that took notes for me, and explained things that I missed. The team mates that gave up space on the bus and in our hotel rooms so I could make my models and do my designs on the road. The professors that always gave me the first crit so I could run off to practice, the coaches that were patient with me when I was not all there physically or mentally. People don’t see the parties I missed, the concerts I didn’t go to, the intramural activities I had to turn down. It was not easy, there was a lot of sacrifice involved. There were times that I cried, that I wanted to stop, change my major to bowling or wine tasting or nuclear physics, something that would at least let me sleep in my own bed at night. People called me crazy and in retrospect yes, there was a degree of that. But I knew what I wanted, and there was nothing that could stop me from getting that done, not even that voice inside my head that kept saying….you know it would be easier if….
Fast forward to today:
I wear many hats in my life now, I’m an architect, I’m a parent, I’m a coach, I’m a business owner, I am still an athlete. I still pack my days with a variety of work, activities and events and sometimes think I should clone myself or discover a way to add hours to the day. Honestly, that’s the way I like it.
I value all the lessons I learned from those experiences, and I am able to apply many of the skills I learned during that period of my life to the work I do daily as a coach and with our access sport athletes. I understand when someone tells me they are stressed out, don’t have time, or have a goal but have been told it might tnot be possible, or they don’t think they’re good enough.
That is why Access Sport will be releasing a brand new mentor-ship program over the next couple months, This program will cover many topics that will help guide you through the process of figuring out where you want to be and what you want to do in school, sport and in life. This program will be invaluable in helping you identify what your ultimate performance goals are and discussing strategies to overcome obstacles in your life that are acting as road blocks to your success.
One major roadblock for a lot of athletes is doubt, whether it be self doubt, or social doubt. It is immensely impact-full when someone you love and trust in your life tells you “you’re not good enough” or, if you are slogging through the recruiting process and aren’t seeing immediate results and the voice inside your head starts saying “it’s too late, you’re just not good enough”
What do you do when you hit a road block?
First, Evaluate what is happening and ask yourself some questions.
What have you been doing to take steps toward your goal? Do you even have your goals outlined?
You may be working hard, but are you working smart as well? How can you work smart?
How has your communication been? Clear? Strong? What communication tools are you using?
Are you communicating with coaches in such as way as to say ‘you need me on your team, I will win games for you”
Are you using your network? What team do you have around you to help and how are you utilizing them?
Think about your intangibles, what are they silently telling people?
Then, Take Action
Make some changes in your schedule, your process and your goals to allow you to reach your best performance.
Our new Mentoring programs will be available for athletes soon! Join our mailing list now and be the first in line for mentoring that will help you be the best student-athlete possible.
Success is achievable if you believe…
“I can do that!, watch me do it!”