“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” – Proverbs 29:18 For our athletes, we are in some very uncertain times. For my winter athletes their season was cut short with opportunities to finish strong taken away from them. For my other athletes, their season barely started or didn’t start at all. And now…we wait. Uncertain as to when seasons will start or…if they start at all. With all of the uncertainty athletes and their families face, the difficulty of knowing what to train for and when that event may begin, is the hardest thing. Sure, your athlete was probably all gung ho the first few weeks of this mess, but now…that enthusiasm has probably waned a bit.
Fall Back In Love With The Vision
For my athletes, we focus on the vision they have of themselves performing at their best. Of who they must become in order to realize that vision. That is ALL you can focus on right now. And it feels…really…really weird. I got an email from one of my families this week asking, “But Jonathan, how do we train for something when we don’t know when it’s going to happen?” This is the challenge that most athlete’s and their families are facing even during the good times. They are focusing on events and not their own…being. The trick to athletic performance is that it is NEVER about the event. It is always about the athlete and their ability to perform during the event. That is why we must always stay focused on becoming the athlete who succeeds in ANY situation. And the truth is you can focus on that vision…every…single…day.
The Whole House Has To Be Focused On That Vision
The key to athletic success if focusing on the athlete’s long-term vision. What it is they look like when they are winning at the highest level. Bottom of the ninth. Five seconds left. Olympic medal on the line. What’s YOUR finish line? This is ALWAYS the way. The longer your vision the easier it is to ride out the bumps. Even bumps like Coronavirus. Which…let’s be honest…no coach EVER plans for in their Long Term Athlete Development Plan. Unless you’re me and you keep your athletes on being focused and ready for ANYTHING. And sometimes being ready for anything means riding it out. Weathering the storm. Going with the flow as opposed to fighting against it all while kicking and screaming and sulking and getting depressed.
What To Do
Right now, it looks like we’re going to be 2-3 months away from…anything. By now you should be in the Acceptance Stage of grieving. So let’s get going, shall we? This is a perfect micro-cycle for training. And it’s the perfect time to improve two of your three key abilities. If you’re not up to speed on what your three key abilities are you can check out my free course on that topic. If you are up to speed…the abilities you can work on right now are: Your physical and your technical. Map out a plan to improve those two things. Your goal is to not be ready to play tomorrow. Your goal is to retool and ramp up. There is plenty of time to do just that.
The Whole House Can Have a Plan
But now that we are all crammed in the same house, visions can break down. Dad wants son to be a professional. But he’s packing away the doughnuts and the garage is a mess. Mom wants her daughter to eat better but mom is thirty pounds overweight. (Ouch. I know.) All we can do right now is focus on our vision for each other. We have plenty of time to do this, actually. Lose some pounds. Play the ukelele. Take on a new hobby. Keep your mind active. But don’t…don’t…just sit there. Do you have time to watch Tiger King? You’re not going to be as good as you could be. Don’t know what Tiger King is? Great. Let’s keep it that way.
The Pain of Discipline or the Pain of Regret
Listen, when we get back online you want to know that you are ready. You’re going to leapfrog past other athletes who didn’t take this break seriously and get everything out of it that they could. You want to be the one who stuck to a routine and made the most of this “break”. This is the Corona Virus off-season. Did you make the most of your off-season? Will you? Get going. “But Jonathan, I need my TEAM!” No you don’t. Listen, all great athletic achievements come from the internal pressure but on the athlete…by themselves. Remember, it’s YOUR vision. Your vision of who YOU must become. Not, who you must become in relation to your teammates. No, it’s a separate vision. It’s independent of others. It’s the vision that creeps in your head when you go to sleep at night and when you wake up in the morning. It’s THAT vision.
Olympian Jonathan Edwards
Founder - The Athlete Breakthrough Blueprint
Olympian Jonathan Edwards is the Creator of "The Athlete Breakthrough Blueprint": The world's only mental performance training program for aspiring athletes with big dreams. Over nineteen years he has worked with athletes who have gone on to or competed in NCAA D1, D2, D3, MCLA D1 and D2, the Olympics, NHL, MLL, NLL, NFL, and others. Feel free to link to this article from your blog and share it with an athlete, parent, or coach who would benefit from these concepts.
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