A spot on the podium is reserved for those who will ‘out work’ and do what others will not. Despite every complex theory on general training, diet and skill development, the ‘taste of victory’ is exclusively for those whom want.
As we walked to the stadium floor the modest rain turned into a pulsating storm that would have many shifting to inside facilities. Of course, ‘the many’ is the middle ground where ‘average is acceptable’ and rarely a moment is spent outside the ‘comfort zone’, hence the storm was in-fact a ‘perfect training setting’ for the determined.
Today was ‘their day’. A day for testing, review and whether they were ready for the ‘next level’. It is the day every athlete waits for, trains for many years and one of great triumphs and horrid defeats. The nerves are on a tight line that day but as each athlete knows you must thrive under pressure to excel.
I layered on the pressure ‘heavy and thick’ with the proverbial ‘you get one shot’ and then it hit. Not the boastful pithy nonsense in sport but the hunger of youth, the hunger of the athlete who has got absolutely ‘no shot’ but defies the odds. It was obvious, they ‘want this’ and now were about to prove through action. The hunt had begun and these dogs were hungry.
The first combine test is one of those ‘secrets’ in talent evaluation that will stay a secret from the prying eyes of the internet but in the closed door of elite sports it reveals a great deal of an athletes potential as well as how they manage the fine line of ‘discomfort’ and ‘pain’. I could see the young athletes were still ‘playing nice’ and needed a bit of a ‘push’ into ‘the zone’.
So I pushed and pushed and pushed some more. Digging in close to the player, not ‘in his face’ but into ‘his head’, reminded him how bad he wants this, reminded him of the countless hours he has spent training for this ONE SHOT. This is HIS TIME, his chance, LEAVE NOTHING BEHIND.
Oh, he left nothing behind and dug in like a young bull kicking down the door. As the sweat poured like a cold mountain spring he attacked, attacked and when others would have dropped, down went that door and he attacked again. That line between ‘discomfort’ and ‘pain’ was of no concern as he pushed through ‘the barrier’, feared nothing and firmly established he has the ability.
There is a great deal of work still to be done and the future is yet to be written but each day is a new opportunity for him and many athletes in his situation. Each day, PROVE you belong at the top. Each day PROVE you understand success does not come without sacrifice. Each day, PROVE you will not be deterred from the challenge outside of ‘the comfort zone’ and each day FEAR NOTHING
The years, the decades will go by and despite the many changes in sport and society there is one element that is a constant:
NEVER underestimate the passion and determination of youth for within their heart is greatness.
'Hunting season' has begun, now prove you ‘want’ that podium.
Prepared by John Davies
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