Blog by Emmerson Smith
:: Personal Trainer to NZ Surf Champ Matt Hewitt.
June 2011: 7 Great Habits of Professional Athlete
In my time as a successful trainer of professional rugby, rugby league and surfing athletes, I am often asked if there are any common personality traits or general habits of the most successful athletes throughout these sports. Although these three sports are radically different, I believe the most successful athlete’s share several distinct abilities.
1. Set goals.
If you don’t know where your going, how will know when you get there. Goals should be set for training and performance, be specific, measurable, and difficult but achievable. It can be helpful to sit down with a trusted advisor and begin with a honest and accurate assessment of where your current performance and training levels are. Be as honest and as aspiration as possible. Set daily, monthly and yearly goals. Try to make your goals performance and not outcome specific i.e to complete 87% of maneuvers in competition. This will allow you to focus on your own performance and gain benefit from every session rather than just winning ones.
2. Treat yourself well.
As an athlete, your body is your weapon. Treat your body with all due care and respect. Getting enough sleep during heavy performance and training regimes is imperative. As a general rule, aim for 8 to 9 hours of quality sleep as often as possible. Sleep is the time for your mind and body to grow and recover and unfortunately there is no substitute. Listen to your body and know when to give yourself that early night you have been promising. Consider a visit to an accredited nutritionist in order to gain full benefit from your diet. Diet is probably the area in which most athletes can gain an immediate benefit by learning a dedicated and disciplined approach to nutrition. Look to incorporate nature’s true super foods into your diet and limit overly processed or calorie rich food and drink.
3. Letting go.
It is imperative that athletes at all levels know when to let go of the peripheral and it’s pressure. At a basic level, all forms or sport and exercise should be a pleasurable experience. Often, during a long season or form slump and athlete can lose sight with the joy of the competitive experience. Learn to strip back your sporting pursuit to its true level and experience it at it’s base level. Learn to see the divide and you will soon learn to see the peripheral and the performance pitfalls in the peripheral. Pressure, expectation, fear of failure and the ‘grind’ all exist in the peripheral.
4. Clocking off.
Give yourself time away from training and performance. The best human beings in any field over time are well rounded, balanced and grounded. Find time away from your sporting peers and find resolve and relief in family or friends who know you as a person and not just an athlete. Have goals and aspirations away from your sporting or exercise endeavours that will aide you in finding a balance in life. No athlete can stay in the ‘war room’ full time. Learn to see time away as a rewarding, refocusing and growth experience.
5. Give back.
The best way to lighten your struggle is too see the same struggle in others. This can give meaning or perspective to your own journey, while also provide a relief or distraction. Find a younger team or individual to mentor or coach, trying to give a full time and energy commitment, while considering you own program. This can be an immensely rewarding and educational experience, especially if an athlete can connect with the sport or exercise at a pure level as discussed in 3. Letting go.
6. The mental edge.
Always consider the long term perspective. The true benefits of sporting and exercise endeavors are the cognitive mental skills of patience, perseverance and dedication that can applied to a life well lived. Always aim for a sustained macro benefit over short term, extrinsic rewards. You only truly lose when you give up. The longer you stay in the fight the better your chance of eventual and complete victory.
7. Engage Lieutenants.
Surround yourself with knowledgeable, genuine and powerful lieutenants in both your sporting and everyday life. Learn to trust their opinions and relish the opportunity to put your eventual success in their ultimately capable hands. Find inspiration and perspective throughout a balanced spectrum and step away from the peripheral. Expect and reward loyalty but never suffer fools or disrespect. It is the human condition to struggle and overcome. Embrace the journey and enjoy the experience.
If your interested in achieving in sport, exercise or life, follow me on twitter…@TrainMuch.
In photos: Matt Hewitt
Leave a comment
You must be logged in to post a comment.