This is not about being a champion; it is about the process of being an athlete, the things that it takes to get into the game. Over the past few weeks I have been going through files and looking at old workouts and training programs. That is what got me thinking about the process of being an athlete. Looking back on my years of coaching and my time as a collegiate and post collegiate athlete and even back to my high school days there are clearly things that go into being an athlete. These are things you must do and have before you can think about being the best, before winning games or races. Some are attributes and some are actions. They are basic, fundamental and foundational.
Being an athlete is special; you are part of a brotherhood that pursues excellence for it’s own rewards. The medals, trophies and yes even the money are not what drives the athlete. What drives the athlete is that in every training session and in every competition you do your best. You give your best effort.
Being an athlete is not about talent, sure that is part of it, but it is really about potential. It is continually striving to reach your potential. To me that is where the satisfaction of being an athlete comes from, it is an inner satisfaction. Being an athlete is maximizing your potential, using your talent.
Being an athlete does not mean public proclamations about your dedication and desire, it is tquiet inner drive and determination. It is focus on the task at hand, accomplishing that task and then methodically moving on.
Being an athlete is certainly not comfortable physically, psychologically and emotionally. It is taking that extra step, paying closer attention to detail doing that workout when everyone else is taking the day off. It is constantly pushing the envelope of your abilities.
Being an athlete is not something you do it is something you are. It is not a two-hour a day proposition it is a 24 hour commitment.
Being an athlete is about setting goals and goal achievement. The goals must be SMART – Specific, Measureable, Achievable, Relevant and Time Bound. Goals are only words or numbers, you must have a plan to achieve the goals and then execute the plan.
Being an athlete is a mindset. It is a willingness to risk and constantly test your abilities, to try new techniques and training methods. It means being coachable.
Being an athlete is about having athletic intelligence. Knowing yourself and your body. Comparing you not to others but to you. It is constantly reminding yourself that you are the master of your athletic destiny. Remember that if it is to be it up to you, not the coach, the parents or fans.
Never take for granted being an athlete. It is very special. You get to test yourself and constantly reach higher, faster and stronger to be the best you can be. Enjoy the process.