In 1997, I got the opportunity to compete in Madagascar Africa as a member of the National team
I was really looking forward to traveling across the world to compete especially since I just won an international competition 2 weeks before leaving for Africa. I was very confident and excited to compete against some of the best jumpers in the world.
On the day of the meet, I started going through my normal warm up which included a light jog, some stretching, form running drills and then accelerations. I was a creature of habit and did the same warm up every time to maximize my readiness for the best performance possible.
As I was going through my warm-up, nothing felt right. Everything just felt out of sync. My legs felt heavy, I felt out of rhythm and just generally didn’t feel good that day. I never even cleared a high jump bar during the warm up. I went and sat down, put on my headphones and told myself, “everything will be fine, I’ve put in a lot of hard work and I am going to trust my abilities that when its my turn to compete, things will start to click.
I started going through my warm up again while I was waiting to try and activate my muscle system and find some rhythm so that when I was called upon to compete, it would be there. During the competition, I went on to clear every height on my first attempt and won the meet.
As an athlete, you are going to have lots of practices and games where you don;t have your A game but you need to find a way to get it. Sometimes you won’t, you will just have a bad day but in more times than not, if you stay positive and don’t give up, you will succeed more than you fail.
This requires positive self talk and trusting your abilities when you are in those situations. I see too many athletes give up when things don’t go there way. It may require you to stretch out a little bit more or do some sprints to activate your body like I did. You often see NBA basketball players riding the bike in the tunnels or PGA golfers doing some band work for their shoulders to activate the muscle system which translates to more coordination and fluidity in their golf swing.
The best athletes in the world find a way to do good even when they don’t feel good. I always say “you always do good when you feel good, but you have to be able to do good when you don’t feel good.”
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