By Coach Jeremy Hoy, MS, CSCS, SCCC, PES, TPI1, RPR1
If you’re a sports enthusiast, then you will most likely be a fan of the Olympic games--thousands of the best athletes in the world, that have been training intensely for the last 4 years to showcase their talent in a few short events—4 years of training for once chance to raise the flag of their country and parade around as champion.
Wow, now that’s a great example of sacrifice, commitment, dedication, hard-work, vision, focus, pride, honor, respect, and talent. Remember, the true Olympians are the athletes that compete in their events for the pride of the country, their pride, and the pride of their family. Most of them do not get paid remotely close to what even our lowest paid professional athletes in America get paid, yet they still make sacrifices and put it all on the line…just for chance to win the Gold. Again, this is another great example of passion, desire, and determination towards a goal.
In 2000, (yes, it seems like so long ago, now) I was fortunate enough to be offered a position to work directly with the head strength and conditioning coach at the Lake Placid Olympic Training Center, Mr. Kevin Ebel, in the capacity of an intern strength coach. Since there were only two of us coaching in the facility, the experience was very hands-on, and I had the opportunity to work with many Olympians that earned a place on the medial podium and earned their place in history, such as speed skater Apolo Anton Ohno, bobsledder Steven Holcomb, and luger Mark Grimmette.
I’m not telling you this for credibility purposes, but to express that I’ve experienced first hand the Olympic values, the Olympic environment, and the Olympic atmosphere, and I want you to know that, to me, there is nothing like it in the world—especially the winter Olympics, and more specifically, the winter Olympians. I have always been impressed that these are athletes that are most definitely not doing what they do for the financial reward—because there really isn’t much!
Ok, now back to the main point of the article. So, how do you think these athletes, or any successful athletes, or any successful people got to where they are today? The answer is simple. They each possessed a strong desire to succeed or to achieve a specific goal. As Napoleon Hill states “the starting point of all achievement is desire.” An athlete without the desire to succeed will never achieve success. World re-known sports psychologist Dr. Denis Waitley believes that for an athlete to become successful, they must possess the desire to do so within his/her own self.
Motivation is a product of desire, and no matter how much a coach tries to motivate an athlete, without desire nothing great will be accomplished, and more importantly, nothing great will ever be sustained. Dr. Waitley in his over 30 years in the sports psychology industry and experience with professional and Olympic athletes has determined that it is not a coach’s job to motivate, but rather to find the desire within each athlete and allow each to find his/her own motivation. The role of the coach is to provide the knowledge and plan to help each athlete achieve success.
The second key to becoming successful as an athlete is either obtaining the knowledge or finding someone who has the knowledge to help you on your journey. Take, for example, an athlete who wants to play in the NHL. Obviously he will need to learn a lot about hockey, including skating, stickhandling, systems, etc. Additionally, he will need to be strong, powerful, and conditioned for the game. As a young hockey player, it wouldn’t be possible to obtain all the knowledge by himself, so he must seek out coaches that can provide these for him. But, remember, without desire, the hard work and sacrifices will never happen.
And, lastly, the third key to becoming successful as an athlete is to plan, or lay out a road map for the journey. To further illustrate this, we took a generic (birds eye view) look at what was needed to play in the NHL, and began to list some of these items. In order to achieve the NHL goal, a more specific list would need to be made, with a timeline, goals along the way, and coaches and contacts to make it all happen. If, at any point, it seems like progress is stopped, then the plan, the knowledge, or the desire would need to be re-analyzed, and any of those three items may need to be tweaked to get back on the right track towards the goal.
So, there you have it. The three keys to athletic success (or success in any endeavor) are:
- Plan (RoadMap)
Dr. John Berardi, sports dietitian (Precision Nutrition), uses these three keys in helping athletes optimize their diet for performance enhancement. Dr. Berardi believes that many athletes are capable of getting the knowledge and road map needed to eat correctly to maximize their training and achieve athletic success.
In the world of strength and conditioning (performance enhancement training), we (strength coaches) use these three keys to produce great results. We help athlete’s find the desire within (if they have the desire), we stay educated by reading the latest peer-reviewed scientific research in the sports performance industry, and we design programs and work with sports coaches to lay out a road map for athletic success.
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