For anyone looking to help take their competitive sporting level up a notch, it’s vital that you know where to start. Often, the main thing holding you back from improving again is understanding that you need to try even harder. It’s commonplace for an athlete to develop and reach a new level, and feel that they just will get by staying at the level they are at.
The primary challenge, then, comes from altering your perception of training. Do you go to practice and feel like you just need to maintain what you did yesterday? No, you need to go beyond that. Never take your present peak as your final peak: you can always find another small improvement. To reach that state of mind, though, you can never feel like you have done enough.
One has to create that ravenous, perpetual desire to go one better. To never be satisfied with where you have reached so far. If you are serious about progression and improvement, you need to try to beat your record every single day. I know you have likely been told this on multiple occasions, but it’s true. The best way to improve your game is to take training as seriously as you would a match day.
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Finding Your Hunger
The primary challenge, then, is to see the reason why you want to improve. Often, if you have scaled beyond heights you would have once dreamt of reaching, it’s hard to want to keep growing. Some people are happy with their lot – if you can achieve a successful athletic career, do you need to push yourself further?
The answer is undoubted yes. As soon as we are happy with our lot, subconscious complacency sets in and stops us from performing higher. This is the same in any walk of life; the minute you achieve a finishing point you are happy with; you are instantly declining. You rest on your laurels, stop passionately searching for assistance and answers, and lose that willingness and desire to push on.
It’s a common affliction and can be a significant negative point in the lives of many athletes. Then, you need to spend time and energy merely getting back to where you were – if you wish to improve your game, you can never set a cap or a limit.
Your goals should always be unrealistic or highly improbable of being achieved. Why? Because that forms perpetual hunger. If you’re a soccer player, for example, you’ll want to try and eclipse the best player in your position in the world. Will you do it? Probably not. But only by having the ambition and the intent in training to one day achieve that will you keep improving your game.
Always set your goal a bar higher than you can likely achieve. When you finish your career, you’ll probably have a lot more positives to look back upon, having pushed yourself so exceptionally hard to reach the very elite.
Psychology plays a significant part in your development, improvement, and consistency. It’s not about being shown some new technique or magically becoming faster overnight; it’s about honing your game, playing to your strengths and disguising your weaknesses. Only through that forcefully elite mentality in training can such success be achieved.