Training Tips - Keeping Motivated - December 2008

Keeping motivated can be one of the biggest obstacles facing some athletes. There are many reasons that people get faced with this dilemma. Athletes that are at the top of their sport are sometimes lulled into a feeling of invincibility thereby slacking off on their training and not pushing themselves as hard as they did when they were trying to get to the top. That is one of the reasons for the saying "Getting to the top is the easy part, staying there is the hard part". People in this position are some of the hardest to get motivated, that's why Professional sports teams hire sports psychologists, after all, this is all in your head. For those of us that can't afford to hire a sports psychologist it's all about record keeping. You may think that you are pushing yourself as hard as you did before, but if you are keeping track of your training you'll see that there are aspects of your training that are definitely lacking. In saying that you need to realize that you cannot give 110% every day. If you do you will burn yourself out or get yourself injured.

If you look at different sports you'll see that the athletes that have the longest shelf life are those that have down times. You need to do the same thing and have a down time. You can still train but you need to back off different parts of your training. I know this sounds contradictory but cutting back and losing motivation are two completely different things. Most arm wrestlers in the Western World have jobs and families that they have to fit in with training. This time of year is a perfect example of how training takes a back seat to family obligations. That in no way should be construed with lack of motivation. Lack of motivation is having the time to train and not bothering because you'd rather wash your hair!

Then there are the people that go out and give it 110% for a few months but don't see instant gains and get disappointed. They feel that they are training so hard but not making the gains that they think that they should be making. Remember that gains on the armwrestling table are different from those that you make in the gym. In the gym you see gains by increments from as little as 2.5lbs. You cannot see 2.5lb or even 10lb gains on the table. Most people can only see gains by wins and losses. What you should be looking for is how you feel at the table. In that, I mean that when you are pulling (tournament or practice) someone who you cannot beat but you are feeling stronger against them. Some may not notice these subtle changes but your training partners/competitors may notice and they should tell you when they do just as you should tell them.

Finally to keep motivated, you need to set goals. However, these goals have to be realistic. If you started armwrestling last year don't set your goal to be World Champion next year, unless of course you finished second at this year's World Championships. If your goal is to beat a particular person and that person is training as hard as you are then you should have a two-fold goal. Your first is beating that person and the other is that the two of you are progressing against other competitors. Simply trying to beat someone doesn't always benefit you as you focus too much on one person then start getting beat by others.

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