As a coach, you sometimes wonder if your direction and recommendations are being listened to. Do the usual messages of consistency and training with intent, resting, recovering, eating well start to sound trite almost? It’s not matter we take lightly. Delivering a message after all needs to be meaningful and hopefully held in good regard. We see this with messages from the authorities when it comes to warnings about smoking, speeding, and drink driving.
When studying football, coaches look for these precursors that lead to scoring opportunities. Fast play the balls, players in motion off the ball, game plans and players that ca execute those game plans under pressure.
What I have learned over many years is that there are a few key “precursors to performance” that we can rely on in endurance sport and try to replicate for sustainable success.
- The athlete has had a deliberate progression in their racing and training in the lead up. Million dollar performances don’t just pop up out of nowhere. You see them coming. Make sure you are always trying to build to something. Not seeing the next race as make or break.
- The athlete has had hurdles they have had to jump over to get to their best. Being exposed to difficult times, whether it be from injury or life circumstances, gives an athlete great coping skills and new levels of resilience. Their difficulty gives them a thirst for success.
- The athlete is looking after themselves. Or from a counter view, I am yet to see an athlete reach their best by eating poorly, sleeping under 6 hours a night, and generally not taking care of their best assets, their minds and bodies.
- The athlete becomes positive. Self doubt starts giving way to self belief. That comes fro one thing. Seeing improvement in training. Being able to go faster, or go the same pace but for longer, or even go the same pace at a lower heart rate.
- They are in a healthy competitive environment. The language they are constantly hearing is that it’s ok to push yourself to be better.
- Consistency comes to the athlete. As a result of looking after themselves and working on aligning the other forces in their life, sessions start to get done on a regular basis.