…is rarely (though sometimes) the genetic freak. Before you start peppering me with your anecdotals and acquaintances that defy that statement, I will acknowledge that there are exceptions to that rule. However, the most successful athletes I have known or heard of are usually those who have a bit of genetic predisposition and a lot of preparation. In fact, a lot of great athletes have no glaring genetic superiority. So what are most well rounded, successful athletes doing?
1.) Addressing weaknesses: its well rounded athlete will have multiple physical tools in their toolbelt for competitive endeavors. This means allowing your sharpest skill set to develop while looking at the critical and sport specific weaknesses that are holding you back. Its incredibly common that those prone to excel at max effort lifts sway towards max effort training, while others who are perhaps good long distance runners continue to pile on the miles. Objectively identify the demands of your sport. Write each physical gear needed, then assess where you are on a scale of 1-10 ( 1 being completely incapable of even sufficient efforts and 10 indicating that you are closing in on a world class performance). Assess if you can kick your absolute strengths into maintenance mode while developing your weakest link. If not, then assess a training plan that accommodates multiple areas of priority.
2.) Competing with appropriate frequency: your competitive life should be fun, and I completely understand what its like to miss platforms, stages, race tracks, trails, etc etc. However, as you progress in athlete age, your progress will slow and take a bit more sophistication in achieving them. Make sure you are giving yourself enough down time between competitions to articulate and execute a plan that ensures progress. Caveat: if an essential part of your life requires competing for fun, go for it. You just won’t be on the most efficient track to progress.
3.) Putting together a long term plan: When you are a recreational athlete, you do it because you love it. The beauty of that is that you will likely be doing it for the long haul. Set yourself up for success: plan out your competitions and their associate microcycles. Familiarize yourself for the necessary tapers and deloads moving into your competitive showings and plan accordingly. Assess the progress you would like to make between shows and create off season timelines that allow you to chip away at your weakness. Perhaps get a second or third opinion on what its going to take to get where you want to go.
4.) Being consistent and patient: your progress is not going to be fast. It is built over your entire lifespan. That’s day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year. Prioritize your training at a time you can be consistent and put in the necessary work. The rest is left to patience. Don’t expect to go from new trainee to world champion in a matter of weeks. The best things in life take consistency and patience. Don’t cheat yourself out of the fruits of your labor.