The 10 Principles of Athletic Success
1. Have a Purpose
This can encompass a lot – a purpose for your set, your workout, your training week, your sport, even a purpose for your life! In sport it really boils down to being both physically and mentally present at training (completing your training with purpose and intent), and to having goals (not just what the goals are but why you have them as goals!). Have a purpose, both in your training and for your training.
2. Follow a Plan
You should have a plan for your season, your month, your week, your next competition. Having a purpose with no plan is just beating your head against a wall. If you are on a team, planning is the coach’s job, and if you are on your own – this is your job. It is your job to use our Regeneration Made Simple as a guide to improved recovery. Evaluate your plan as your season progresses (are you drinking enough water, sleeping for both quantity and quality, eyc), and make adjustments as necessary. In planning please note that logistics come first, then strategies, then tactics.
3. Give Effort
Honest efforts should be both smart and hard efforts: or working on what matters. This all circles back to having a purpose and having a plan. Giving full efforts does not mean all-out intensity of effort all of the time either, but working as hard as a rep, set, workout, planning, preparation or season requires. Racing is ALWAYS 100% effort – ALWAYS!
4. Be Consistent
You should be at practices as often as possible. You should have a plan that you follow as often as possible, and you should work with your purpose in mind. You should eat well as often as possible, and you should get 8 hours or more of sleep per night as often as possible. Persevere. Motivation follows action, so be consistent in your actions. If you follow the 1st 3 principals consistently you will be ahead of 99% of your competition.
5. Display Adaptability
Stated simply – find an answer, not an excuse. Make it work – no matter what the circumstance, no matter what the obstacle, you can usually find a way around it, over it or under it – or possibly through it. If something comes up that you can’t figure out for yourself, ask for help. A good coach is indispensable in this type of situation.
6. Be Prepared
Just like the Boy Scout’s motto – solid preparation will lead to an increased chance of you achieving your goals. Superior preparation wins most often. Plan (Principle #2) and prepare for things in advance so that you will have what you need when you need it. This goes for training, food, and sleep (the big 3). Make a list and check items off if you are uneasy or unsure about what you need. This goes double for competitions – use a list to pack and prepare well ahead of time. And remember - Convenience Leads to Success (CLS), so make your preparations convenient to use!
7. Competitive Cooperation.
This is the basis of a successful team. It does not mean “cheerleading” necessarily, but leading by example and challenging both yourself and your teammates to compete regularly – both in practice and in competition. Do something EACH DAY that you have never done before. Work harder, prepare better, beat last week’s times/sets/reps/weights, etc. Do this for your self each day (attitude) and it will carryover to your training partners, team, and environment (atmosphere). EACH OF YOU can then help to create the most successful NAAC environment possible!
8. Control Your Attitude and Atmosphere.
Strive to have a positive and realistic outlook. Do not tolerate complacency or apathy in yourself or in your teammates. Pay attention and be respectful. Do not use the words “can’t” or “too”… they foster mental weakness. Your attitude is under your control – so control it to your advantage. Training atmosphere plays a HUGE role in your success – your team should be there to support you, and you to support them. This support can take many forms, and some of the most successful teams manage to combine a high degree of intensity with an equal amount of fun and light-heartedness (not an easy combo). And perhaps most of – be the change you desire.
9. Be a Leader and a Follower
There will be times when you need to assert yourself and there will be times when you need to take a step back and let someone else take the lead. Learn to use both mindsets so that you can take control when needed, and so that you can follow and support others when needed. If you have ever watched the Tour de France, the effectiveness of this mind set should be obvious… sometimes the race leaders lead, sometimes the race leaders follow. This applies directly to controlling your attitude and atmosphere mentioned above.
10. No Limits
World Records are broken regularly – only because someone thinks they can do so and then acts on this belief. Placing limits on one’s self in any single area can lead to an easy (and unwanted) crossover of putting limits on one’s self in many areas. Whether physical or mental tasks, we should all avoid putting self-imposed limits on our abilities so that we can reap the rewards of all of the time and effort we put into swimming. There are often plateaus in training and competition, and we must all remain persistent and determined in our efforts to move beyond our present abilities. To change requires great effort, and successful change requires a No Limits approach.