What is your gym?
Have you ever played a sport professionally? It could even be just for your school or college team. If you have, you will know the three aspects of being a professional athlete.
Number one is conditioning. You would have done conditioning exercises like squats, sprints, lifting weights, skips, shuttle runs, among other things. This helps build your core strength and stamina. Every coach dedicates a good amount of time in training to conditioning. Because, rigour and discipline is needed to execute whatever plan the coach comes up with for the game day. And without the core strength and stamina to up the ante and match the opponent on the field, even the most skilled players can be easily brushed aside.
Number two is training. For every ninety minutes that a footballer spends on the field in a game, he spends three times more on the training ground. And I’m sure it is the same for other sports as well. This is the time where he can try out different things, experiment and master what he will eventually do on the field. Training is just as important as conditioning. While conditioning builds core strength and stamina, training commits skills to muscle memory. When faced with a certain scenario on the field, the player doesn’t have to think what to do next. He can immediately spring to action as his body and brain already know what to do in what situation. All emphasis is on action and execution. There is little thinking. A striker doesn’t think where to place the ball when in front of goal, a winger doesn’t think what trick to do to dribble past the defender, they instinctively do it. And without training, the instinct doesn’t get built.
Number three is actually performing on the game day. Even after going through the conditioning and the training phases, performance on the day that it matters is not guaranteed. The athlete still needs to be mindful of his opponent, have a keen eye on what is going on and have the confidence that whatever he has been doing on the training ground can be pulled off.
Although this is clear when it comes to sport, many of us don’t do these things in spheres outside of sport, be it work, or writing, or dancing. They are all just like playing a professional sport. And we need to focus on all three aspects in order to be good. Otherwise, we’d be like the footballer that doesn’t hit the gym for conditioning, nor goes to training for practice, but turns up on game night. Guess what happens to him? He’ll be kicked off the team. Even someone like Eden Hazard, one of the top footballers in the world, was not selected in the team for skipping a training session. One training session.
And yet, we focus so little on conditioning and training when it comes to our work or our writing. No wonder our performance is nowhere close to stellar. We aren’t building up to it at all.
No matter what it is that we do, we need a gym and we need a training ground. Otherwise, there is no question of getting good. Ever.
What is your gym?