As I move closer to Bobsleigh Canada’s testing camp in the next couple weeks, I have begun to look back on the journey I began just over a year ago. A year filled with new coaches, learning to sprint, getting stronger, battling injuries, and countless other unexpected challenges that made an impact or even a detour along the way.
Someone once told me, “the ultimate challenge is with one’s self” – and it truly is. Sure, resistance training might be difficult, or a severe conditioning circuit might make you want to puke, but no level of difficulty will compare to the mental battles you’re going to encounter and that’s okay. Reflecting on the year I’ve had, here are a few of my tips that have kept me moving forward.
- Be self-aware.
No one will know your body like you do. Each day is an opportunity to chase perfection, but that doesn’t mean every day is going to be perfect. Athletes go through cycles, building phases, recovery phases, and countless other periods where the brain, body, and nervous system are going to be severely impacted. Be aware of how your body feels, and reacts, and adjust your training and recovery accordingly.
- Be open.
The greatest athletes are scholars of their sport. Be open to criticism and learning by finding yourself coaches, mentors, and role models. Absorb anything someone is willing to teach you, and apply it.
- You need a plan.
Changes don’t happen overnight, or during a single session. They’re the result of a well planned, well executed, master process that takes time. You can’t wish, or guess success – create a plan, have it on paper, and follow it.
- Stay humble.
Pat yourself on the back, clap, do a victory dance – but then get back to the grind. Results are proven on the clock, not off the lip. No one cares what you “used” to be able to do.
- Treat each movement with a purpose.
Keep your goal in mind. Each and every movement should reflect a purpose to better yourself as an athlete in your discipline. Use the gym as a tool to train, not just gain.
- Disciplined priorities.
This is where the mental battle gets the most difficult. You’ll learn to tell your friends “no”, you’ll give up guilty pleasures or cheat meals, and you’ll probably spend more time meal prepping than socializing. Find your strength in sacrifice and be grateful for those decisions when they add up, and pay off down the road.