Olympic Level Mindset


Question: As I watched the Olympic trials, I was amazed at the performances of these athletes. What struck me in particular was how completely exhausted they were once their races were over. Additionally Simone Biles made a comment in passing after her floor routine the her legs were dead going into her final tumbling run. Is that will and focus genetic or from training?

Answer: A few years ago a coach I know said you have to be a little crazy to be on the medal stand at the Olympics. To train as obsessively as is required to best the best is not normal or average. It is driving, single-minded approach to excellence. Some people have the blueprint for it in their genes but it takes repeated effort and training to reach that point. It requires extraordinary mental effort to reach the pinnacle that you’re actually comfortable being uncomfortable. The competitors we have already seen in the Olympic trials have reached that point and are capable of taking it further into the “Pain Zone”. The most successful competitors in the Olympics will be those who can dig a little deeper into that zone and remain there until they win or breakdown.

Most people fail to realize that being uncomfortable is different from being in pain. Pain is a signal that damage is being done to a part of the body and that it is imperative that whatever is causing the damage stops immediately. Training is different from working out. Training means that you’re not comfortable and the signals that you’re receiving is interpreted as pain. By repeatedly pushing your training you begin to realize and accept that those signals aren’t life-threatening. For example, Allyson Felix felt the pain from her previous ankle injury several weeks ago as she ran in the Olympic trials 400 meter finals. She visibly limped through the first half of the race. As she hit the final turn she was able to block out, accept the fact that it was going to hurt, assess that it was not going to do any greater damage and run through it to win with the best time in the world this year. These athletes are so well-prepared both physically and mentally that we don’t realize how much their super human efforts hurt.

All the preparation begins with that first workout but each champion has the one competition or training session that took them to the next level. Acceptance and trust are the keys to that. Accepting that what you’re attempting to do will not be easy and will certainly be uncomfortable. While you’re in the middle of that discomfort recognize that your body is able to accomplish whatever your mind wills it to do. Trust is required in yourself that you can accomplish the training. Trust in your training that it will build you up to accomplish your dreams.

One of our clients remarked to me that the reason he has been so successful with us is that he knew that he couldn’t fail. What he was saying is that he knew no matter how hard he pushed in the gym he knew he wouldn’t get hurt. If you have a dream and the will to train then you can go further than you imagine

God bless and keep training,