Training, Racing & LCHF Fueling For Skating And Endurance Sports
Nerves. Tension. Pressure. Worry. Doubt. These are just some of the thoughts and feelings that can often overwhelm us ahead of a big race or competition. When we have invested a large part of our time and our souls into training and preparing for a race, then it is only natural that we measure our success and, for many, even a degree of our self worth by how well we perform… and often the weight of such expectation can be a crushing burden to bear.
Carrie Cheadle is a mental skills coach who has extensive experience working with athletes ranging from everyday age groupers to elite level, dealing with these very issues. Her book, On Top Of Your Game is written to help athletes not only cope with the all the butterflies and anxieties, but ultimately learn to embrace them in order to spur them to a higher level.
But just how do we transform ourselves from a nervous wreck toeing the line in the biggest race of the year into a zen-like master with an unyielding lazer-beam focus?
“Confidence is not something you are, it’s something you do.”
This beautiful sentence just about sums it up for me. Cheadle takes the reader through the sources of our anxieties, and helps us realise how we can either enhance or undermine all our physical efforts by way of the mindset that we develop and what we choose to focus on. If you are not enjoying your sport or have lost interest and motivation, then understanding the causes why is a vital part of helping you rediscover the missing spark.
Cheadle says that we can either choose to “feed the monster” or “feed the athlete” in the way we view and approach challenges, obstacles and setbacks. On Top Of Your Game is packed with advice on how to always “feed the athlete” in each of us. If there’s an obstacle in front of you, you can choose to dread it, or you can choose to see it as an challenge, or you could even choose to embrace it and see the opportunities it will present. In each case, what has changed is your subjective view, not the objective fact that there remains an obstacle that requires navigating.
The book talks about the importance of goal-setting, how to cope with injury and setbacks, and the importance of feedback from a good support team, and has practical tips on how to calm – or indeed stimulate – your nerves to the correct level.
On Top Of Your Game is a deep, deep book that probably requires multiple reads in order to really grasp a lot of the good advice on offer. Devoting time to your mental training is as important as your physical training. For those who feel they consistently underperform due to the weight of expectation (mainly our own) then this little book can certainly help nudge you in the right directions.