The Gods of Sport

Learning from the best is key to coaching and parenting with the most impact moving forward. The last, key ingredient comes down to the athlete. Are they willing to give their EVERYTHING to the sport they love?

The Gods of Sport

Learning from the best.

Naturally we look up to the best of the best. From time in memorial, human's are inspired by great feats of those around them. The Olympics, the first global showing of athletic might. From mere mortals to God like beings. The Greek history embodied the hero's journey. The Olympics was a continuation of these powerful myths. Immortalising our athletes to a higher level is a common trait that crosses cultures. Striving to perform better, represent our family, team and country.

Has anything changed since the days of the first Olympiads? At the core, athletes are athletes. Striving to push the boundaries of human performance, move faster, play smarter and win more than anyone else before.

Since I was young, my world was surrounded by champions of sport who I thought to be demi-gods. Patrick Rafter, Andre Agassi, Pete Sampras Lleyton Hewitt, Nathan Buckley, Serena Williams, Lance Armstrong, Michael Johnson, Michael Jordan, Michael Schumacher, James Hird, Cathy Freemon then Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal.

I truly believed that these people were different to us. Special. Selected. Touched by the hand of Zeus himself. I also believed that if I truly worked hard, I could one day be at the top of my sport. Tennis.

If you're anything like me, I love watching the best compete, significantly more than watching the sport itself. My favourite sports and athletes are Formula 1 drivers, tennis players, long distance endurance athletes, rock climbers and extreme sports crazies.

My love for watching these athletes is less about the sport itself and more about the person. How they approach the warm-up, how they talk to their team, how they perform under pressure, what they do in the off season, how their personal life is etc. I'm looking for clues about their deepest secrets. What makes them different, what makes them great and how can I take some of that goodness and inject it into my coaching sessions, pass it on to my athletes and infuse it into our platform?

What I have learnt from the best of the best

When it comes to game time, there is a fierce and unwavering, CALM FOCUS.
Calm focus is a beautiful state of mind that allows flexibility of thought, quick adaptability of decision making and the utmost engagement with the task ahead. Some would call this the zone (state of flow) but my research would suggest otherwise. A state of flow is fleeting and not accessible at will. It comes and goes and the more intuitive a process becomes the more likely it is to appear. Focused calm is a state that you can train towards, learn to obtain it and find your best performance. Champions are hard to rattle.

Willingness to die
A little dramatic yes but please, indulge me. To die for an athlete is the feeling when they didn't give their all. To NOT put everything on the line. Spiritually and mentally this is the death to the best athletes. Walking to the locker rooms knowing you could have given more, done more, become more. This metaphorical death is a powerful driving force. It must consume you.
This fight will come across differently depending on the person. Rafael Nadal and Djokovic bring a battle to the court. Run faster, push harder and emotionally leave their soul exposed. Watch old videos of formula 1 legend, Ayrton Senna.

The Senna video sums everything up. The willingness to do what needs to be done, no matter the consequence. Knowing what type of person you are and how this will manifest will be slightly different for all. What will remain is the willingness to do everything possible to succeed.

The BEST support pillars
The best people is the world know that it can't be done alone. You need people who care deeply about you and your dream. Have the same fire in their belly to push forward, drive daily towards the same vision. These people don't need to be the 'best' they need to be the best for the athlete. Show me a champion and look a little to the left and right. Those people on the edges of the photo, on the side of the court or in the gym at home are the pillars that every champion MUST have. Chose wisely. Our UTP platform emphasizes this point consistently.

Problem solve
There is no problem that is too big. The bigger the problem, the more steps that need to be solved. All champions look for solutions, they focus on the next steps towards their goal. They don't get bogged down in the 'ohh no, why this or why now' They look forward and FIND the best solution and way forward. Period.

The great champions, the demi-gods of our world are all great at what they do. Their skills are world class but their skills are only part of the package. Their drive, their focus, resilience and determination are what make them who they are. No doubt, skills are crucial to getting you near the top level of any sport, succeeding at the top, becoming the best takes all of your heart and soul.

Learning from the best is key to coaching and parenting with the most impact moving forward. The last, key ingredient comes down to the athlete. Are they willing to give their EVERYTHING to the sport they love?