I love the Olympics! I love the Olympics, not only because we get to see great athletes overcome great obstacles, but because we as everyday athletes get a peek into tried and tested practices that prove to be successful and maybe not so successful. Yesterday we saw some of the world’s greatest swimmers defeat their own mental and physical demons. The after race interviews are filled with gold nuggets of sport psychology information that we all can use in our own training.
Katie Ledecky had said in a media interview after her 200m freestyle gold winning race (I am paraphrasing here), that her legs were hurting but she pushed through because she had trained so hard for this moment. Notice that she pushed through because she didn’t want to disappoint HERSELF! In a picture of competitors in the men’s 200m butterfly, Michael Phelps is about a half body length in front of rival Chad Le Clos. In the photo they are both at the top of their butterfly stroke at the inhale; Phelps is shown as focused ahead while Chad is turning his head, mid-stroke, to check where he is in comparison to Phelps. It could be argued that at that very moment, Chad Le Clos had lost the race. Taking focus off your own target, goal or finish line, can only potentially hurt yourself both in sports and in life!
Next time you are on your own playing field take note of where your mind goes. Do you find yourself competing against yourself and your own best times, or do you often compare your performance to others? Maybe it’s time to realign your focus.
Aloha... until next time. DR