How to Keep Winning
What do you do to keep winning?!
You smash a PR in the gym, your team conquers their arch-nemesis, you hit goal after goal and everything seems to be going your way! How can you ensure that the victories continue to come your way? What can you do to make sure your goals keep being accomplished and you keep striving toward greatness? How can you keep winning?!?!?
Never Stop Moving
I believe there are a few distinct keys to becoming a champion. When athlete’s accomplish big goals, they sit back on their laurels, they engage with complacency and bask in their victory. Should we celebrate our victories? ABSOLUTELY! BUT, I believe it is incredibly important to continue moving forward as an athlete. There is always work to be done, there is always time to improve and there is always some manner of progression that needs to be conquered.
Let’s use someone like Tom Brady as an example. Tom Brady didn’t win three Super Bowls, he didn’t win four Super Bowls, he won SIX Super Bowls! How? He was constantly figuring out new ways to optimize his “reads” as a quarterback, he was doing the little mental stuff during physical recovery and he was doing the big physical work when his brain needed a break. He is/was relentless and persistent. He is a perfect example of what greatness means.
A close friend of mine played for the Patriots for four years. He tells a classic story about the NFL great. My friend Espo got into the locker room at the ass crack of dawn. He was a practice squad player, trying to make a good impression and get himself to the next level. It was 5 AM and he knew if he was at Foxboro preparing for practice early that he could make a good impression on the team. As he walked through the locker room, he saw a light on in a corner with papers all over the place. There was a guy highlighting images and writing down notes, the guy peaked over to see who just entered the building and saw Espo walking through the locker room.
Who was the dude who beat Espo to the locker room? Well, that individual walked up and said, “Hi, my name is Tom, nice to see you here!”
Tom Brady had already won two Super Bowl rings at that point in his career and yet he was ALWAYS working early. He knew he could be better, he knew he could iron out mistakes and make his career even greater and that is exactly what he was doing!
Train the Next Day
Recently, Rachel Fatherly had a breakout competition. She competed against the best female throwers in the US and brought home a DUB. This was a huge meet for her, a travel meet without her coach and a high-intensity environment and she went out and smashed her goals. She hit two indoor PR’s and also brought home a solid payday. Rachel and I spoke a bit that night, we were both ecstatic about her victory and happy with how she competed. We celebrated, I even spent time that night outside listening to the owls, one of my favorite things to do when celebrating.
How did Rachel handle the next day? She went back to work! She woke up, did some stretching, got out of bed and went to the weight room to get her training done. Rachel embodies the champion’s attitude, she embodies the will to be the best she possibly can be and she has embraced every single aspect behind that attitude.
Not only did she train the next day, but she also studied her film and saw where she made mistakes, criticizing her performance! This is how you constantly can improve. You must enjoy the victories but there is always a step to getting better that lies within you internally.
Sense of Urgency
Having a sense of urgency is key to continually winning. This means having progressive/positive thoughts and then acting upon those thoughts IMMEDIATELY! The urgency can be based on the fact that someone is out there at this very moment, trying to beat you!
As a coach, I am constantly paranoid that someone is going to out coach me. From my perspective, it is probably unhealthy, but this attitude has fueled me throughout my entire career. My urgency is based around the finite time that we have on this planet. If I can take advantage of every single moment I have, it will enable me to be the greatest coach I can be.
Let’s revisit Rachel’s situation. She hit a PR, she beat some of the best in the world, but she knows this isn’t the end goal, she knows those women aren’t done. They are coming for her. They will get into the weight room, they will crush training and they will work toward conquering their own individual goals. Elite teams, elite coaches and elite athletes HAVE to engage in that type of attitude to continue their streak of winning! If you aren’t getting better, someone else is!
Revisit The Big Picture Goals
As coaches in Sports Performance, we have to constantly revisit the big picture goals. Each competition or meet or game is a step along the process toward the big picture. You are on a ten-game winning streak in football? Doesn’t matter, you haven’t won the state title! You are one of the best Olympic weightlifters in the country? It doesn’t matter, the next step is making a World team! Conquered a big competition in the throwing world? Did it get you on a team? If not, keep grinding!
ESTABLISH THE DREAM! What is a dream accomplishment? What do you lay in bed at night dreaming of? What visions do you have? What thoughts run through your head. Whatever those dreams are, you MUST work toward them every single rep, every single day.
This past week, I sat down to program for two-time Olympian Alex Rose. Alex has had an incredible career. He is the first Olympian I have ever coached. I can sit here and be proud (which I am) of his accomplishments, but we have more work that needs to be done. This past Friday while programming, I had some weird ambient music playing.
This weird-ass song gave me visions. I sat there writing his program, envisioning him conquering the podium in Tokyo, envisioning him dropping a massive throw and shocking the world, achieving the greatest dream of all that runs through everyone’s head. These dreams will one day become opportunities and as coaches and athletes, we cannot pass these chances up. By constantly striving toward the big picture dream, we take advantage of each opportunity and work toward that championship level of existence!
Winning isn’t a task, it is a freaking habit! As you win on a daily basis in your own personal life, you learn how to build structure toward the winning feelings. This all starts with a dream, a purpose to become the best version of yourself, a dream that will fuel you and make you happy. When that dream is established, the urgency is ignited and the persistence cannot cease until those goals are accomplished. Winning the little challenges is very important but ultimately, the biggest dream must fuel you every single day when you are training and working toward that massive goal.
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