I remember as a kid grabbing my buddies, each of us jumping on our bikes, and heading out on an adventure. First it was just around the neighborhood but as we got older our sense of discovery grew and we moved up to riding to the lake. Now, at the time, Folsom Lake seemed like it was quite a long way from our homes. Thanks to the magic of Google maps, I now know that it’s a 5 mile ride. The kind of ride that today, because I’m a “serious cyclist”, I likely would not even get out of bed for.
But man, those rides were fun. Back in the day of no helmets…I wouldn’t consider getting on a bike today without putting one on…weaving through the streets, just taking it all in. We took our time and goofed around. No big hurry and no agenda. Just get to the lake.
I compare that to how I ride today and it’s like a different world. More than likely now, I don’t just go for a ride, I’m “training”. It has become serious...
“Shut up legs!” is a mantra made famous by cycling great Jens Voight. It seems to be the quintessential statement of mental toughness. If I say it and believe it, it shall be true. A finely tuned professional athlete might be able to will his way to tap into that last 5 or 10 percent of effort that makes the difference between victory or failure, but what about the rest of us?
I would argue that mental toughness is more complicated than it sounds. The easy definition, it seems, is when things get tough, buckle down and force your will. After two completed full Ironman triathlons in 2012 and 2014 and my first ever Did Not Finish (DNF) in 2016 at Ironman Cozumel, my understanding of toughness has shifted a bit.
For those of you who may not know, an Ironman is a triathlon made up of a 2.4 mile swim followed by 112 miles cycling and then a full marathon (26.2 miles). In my first two races, I faced some really dark times and wanted to quit at multiple stages of the race....
We could all use a little Zen in our life. I recently read The Champion's Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive. The author dedicated a whole chapter to 22 Zen stories and how they can relate to sports and life in general. I thought they were great stories and would like to share them with you. The following is an excerpt.
Zen is being fully awake without illusion in the present moment. The term Zen derives from the Sanskrit word dhyana, which means meditation or contemplation. Zen approaches to gaining wisdom can be quite effective because they are stimulating to the imagination. Zen stories provide a powerful way to bypass an overly analytical mind and instead move important information straight to the subconscious. These stories can help mobilize one’s internal resources and bring them to bear on solving problems and making positive changes. In this chapter, 22 classic Zen teaching stories and Taoist tales are presented to further deepen...
In the last blog post I discussed the importance of consistency and how it is the one thing that separates the very best in every sport from the rest. The best athletes in the world are able to perform at a consistently high level day in and day out, week in and week out for months and even years. How can you learn to be consistent like the Pro's?
The Inverted U Theory is based on the premise that athletes can attain a state of mental readiness that will allow them to perform at their peak on a consistent basis. The inverted U explains how some people need “bang on your chest" (often football or rugby) type preparation while others need a “quiet isolation and or meditation" (Chess). Most athletes fall somewhere in the middle. The key is to find your individual “FLOW” zone.
The graphic above depicts the "sweet spot" for optimal performance. The purpose of a pre-competition routine is...
I have worked with athletes at all levels of sport, from juniors to collegians to pros and Olympians, and a major area that I help them to achieve is consistency in their competitive performances. So many athletes have big swings in their performances from great one week to mediocre, to even lousy the next week.
In this two-part blog post, I will first discuss the importance of consistency in everything you do. Part 2 will focus on bringing that same level of consistency into preparing for your competition and how to construct your routine.
Consistency is the one thing that separates the very best in every sport from the rest. The best athletes in the world are able to perform at a consistently high level day in and day out, week in and week out for months and even years.
Performing at a consistently high level under the most challenging conditions is the goal toward which I believe all athletes, whatever your ability or sport, should aspire to attain. ...
Many athletes dream of being the best, but few have what it takes to BE the best. What separates the best from the rest? The best isn't always the strongest, fastest, or the one in the best shape. Studies have shown that "the best" is almost always the one that thinks he/she is the best. Champions almost always have what I call a Gold Mind. The mind of a winner. The one with the fewest doubts and the biggest belief in themselves.
How does someone develop this attitude? It doesn't just happen. It takes work, lots of work. Developing a Gold Mind is knowing in your heart that you have done everything you can to be the best. Knowing that you have worked harder in all aspects of your sport. Gold Minds are not a natural quality in any one person. Like anything else you have to develop this skill. Some key factors that I have found that work to develop a Gold Mind are: