The thing about talent is that it eventually runs out and it gets replaced with who does the little things better. You spent time searching all over the internet just trying to figure out what you can do to be better. You wish to have that edge so you can succeed. Sometimes when we have questions, we think the answer has to be complicated when it best keep simple. Here are five simple things you can do consistently to improve as an athlete.
Get More Out of Each Rep
I coach high school track and field and sometimes I sit back and observe the kids and don’t say anything. The one thing that sticks out to me is that 98% of kids cheat the reps. I hate it because I was just not like that as a kid and that was a big reason I made it to the Olympics.
A lot of athletes approach workouts like a checklist. Ten push-ups ok, they get down, and they get through it. Now multiply that by five practices in a week, and you have 50 cheated reps. Multiply that by the school year, and you can quickly see how this adds up.
If you’re going to do the rep with 50% intensity, you may as well give it you’re all. With a push up that means being intentional about what you are doing.
- Go all the way down
- Come all the way up
- Have a good form
- Do all the reps you were asked
- Do them with some intensity like you want to get better
2% of people on every team do these things well and do them correctly. Most people are wasting reps and just trying to get through. The easiest way to get better is to focus, put in more effort and always look for feedback when you can on how you can improve.
Diet is the last thing people ever want to change because it is just plain hard. There is no easy to go about eating more veggies. The reality is that we are what we eat. The question becomes what do you eat?
Every time you train you to break your body down, and it is looking for food and sleep to build it back up. The sleeping part most people seem to be able to do, but eating better requires much more willpower and effort. So few people are willing to put in the work in this area and as a result of few athletes get to see the benefits.
What usually happens is that nutrition is the last resort. A lot of mature athletes start working on their nutrition because they feel themselves getting old and they are trying to get every edge they can. They can no longer rely on talent.
Why wait until the end of your career to decide to start making changes? It makes no sense! Why do tomorrow what you can do and conquer today? The choice is yours!
There are not many diet changes that can work for everyone, so I will not dig in on specific, but I will say that you have t find your path. Any person that means that there is one correct diet that will work for every single person is full of shit, and I will tell you why. There are 7 billion people on the planet with different genetics, predispositions, cultures, and allergies. There is no way that they can all get by on the same foods.
The only way to find out what works for you is to test and run experiments. I did this myself. I tried being a vegan, and I was always hungry, and it made me fart too much. I tried being a vegetarian, and it felt great for about two weeks. I tried removing complex carbs and touched lower on energy. I eventually found the perfect mix that I needed to be successful look good and feel good. You have to do the same for yourself.
We are outright addicted to sugar, and the reason is that it is in everything and it makes everything taste better. Water sucks when you compare it to Gatorade right? The truth is that we need water and we need to drink lots of it.
I had therapists I used to see and when he would grab my muscles he could tell right away if I was hydrated or not. He said that when I was hydrated my muscles felt and moved better. It was crazy to me that someone just touching me could sense that. Imagine what your muscles are going through when you are pushing them to function and a high capacity, but they don’t even have the water needed to operate.
Your badge of honor should have a water bottle in your bag or your hand at all times. There is never a reason to not have fresh water on you ready to drink. The second part of this is choosing water during meals. Not wanting to drink all of the other sugary substitutes with calories that provide no value will be a smart choice.
Injury Prevention Routine
Injuries are a part of the sport, but they are a preventable part of the sport. The best way to come back from injury is not to get hurt at all. What you want to develop is a daily routine you go through that helps you to stay healthy.
I first developed this when I was in college. I had had major hamstring and back injuries which were related. What most people do in rehab is they work their butts off to get back from injury and then they just stop. I started to ask myself what would happen if I just didn’t stop but I just lightened the volume and density of the rehab.
I broke all of my favorite rehab exercises I had ever been given to different groups. Every day I did a diverse group to keep it all fresh and to make sure I touched on everything I needed to. I also made sure that after every hot shower I had, that I did a full body stretching routine from my neck down to my toes.
The Results = My first every two years in a row being injury free and I made the 2012 Olympic team.
What you need to do is figure out your routine. If you don’t know how you can always ask here and get help. This is something that you can’t copy from other people. You need to spend the time to develop your own.
When you have a coach that you are working with no matter how you feel about the communication with them is going to be a key to your success. Whether your hurt, you need to miss practice, you want more playing time, you feel slighted, or you want more of a leadership role. When it comes down to it, you’re going to have to work on having better communication with your coach.
Out of all of these things, communication is the most important because it becomes useful in every area of your life. Whether it be school, dating, employment, persuasion, it does not matter because they all require excellent communication skills.
How do you know you need more work here? If you feel like no one understands you and you don’t understand others, you need to work on communicating better.
You Have the Power to Make a Choice to Change
You can never make another person change. You can’t change your parents, your coach, your teammates or your friends. What you can change is the choices you make and how you live your life. You can control your attitude, and that will decide your aptitude.
These five changes are straightforward but simple does not mean easy. They are straightforward, but they require determination. If you don’t have the determination, what you need to ask yourself is why? Do you not want what you want as bad as you say you do? All you need for motivation in life is the right reasons.