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3 Keys to Becoming A Successful Athlete

3 Keys to Becoming A Successful Athlete
November 4, 2016 Michael Harlow
I had the great fortune of being interviewed by David Fouse this past week.  I am really happy with how the interview turned out because it allowed me to speak on many topics that are feel are important including goals, life balance, and EF’s beginnings and core values.  I encourage you to read the full interview but wanted to elaborate on one topic that was covered: the keys to becoming a successful athlete.  The question was framed within the triathlon context but I believe the response applies to all sports.  Here are the three keys as I see them…
CONSISTENCY – Consistency week after week, month after month, and year after year will lead to improvement.  There is no short-cut or secret workout – it takes time to get good at anything in life.  When we look at the best veterans sport, most have used similar training methods – and usually the same coach – for the entirety of their career.  They did not buy into fads promising to get them to their goals faster but rather focused on the core training philosophies that have proven true over time.  Consistency is more important than total training volume – commit to what you can do consistently, refusing to have big jumps in volume one week and little to nothing the next week.  Consistency will also lead to the least injuries which is the greatest foe to consistency.  If you want to improve, commit to consistency.
A FOCUS ON OUR WEAKNESSES – It is human nature to want to do things at which we are best.  Many kids choose sports based on where they find the earliest success and thus get the most praise for being the best.  Within a sport, we see this as well – for example, a baseball player wants to focus more on his batting skills which are superior in the league vs his fielding skills which are average.  This is especially the case in triathlon with its three sports as athletes often make the mistake of focusing on the sport that is their strength versus the weakest of the three.  If you want to be the best, you have to commit to hard work on the things at which you are not the best.  If your swim puts you out of the water behind, you must spend more time here even if you don’t enjoy it.  Give it some time and some success, you will learn to enjoy it. Refuse the urge to only do what you are good at.
BALANCE – The ability to keep sport balanced with the other things in your life will lead to long-term consist success.  For this reason, this is #1 on my list.  Without life balance, athletes will eventually crumble, usually after sacrificing many things that are way more important.  We have all seen examples of athletes on both sides of this.  Know what is important to you and constantly seek to invest in each of these areas. This and this alone will create a foundation upon which success in all areas will be built.  Make sure you establish this foundation through clear priorities and let your decisions flow from these priorities daily.

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