“Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” You’ve all heard that old saying plenty of times, but maybe it didn’t sink in like it should. Despite being overused, the cliché conveys a legitimate message that all athletes can benefit from.
Not every athlete has elite genetic gifts—including many professional athletes. However, those who are not as naturally talented can make up for it by consistently working hard to achieve their goals. (Read about Andy Roddick’s dedication to improving his tennis game.) To maximize your athletic potential, always focus on becoming the best version of yourself, and don’t accept failure when you don’t stack up.
The problem is that many athletes fail at being consistent. Busy high school student-athletes can find it especially difficult to hit the weight room and practice their skills on a regular basis. Also, if they don’t see the results they want, they might quickly become discouraged. This leads to missed training sessions or practices that set them behind their competition.
Do you want to have the best wrist shot on your hockey team, or the fastest 40? Establish your goal and determine the steps you need to take to achieve it. You might spend 20 minutes a day shooting pucks, or hit the weight room with a focus on lower-body power exercises that will make you faster.
So, how do you stay consistent in pursuing your goals when the drive you had out of the gate starts to diminish.
Look at the big picture and remember why you decided to go for it in the first place. Whatever your reasons, I’m sure they motivated you to get started. Remember those reasons, and let them fuel you through the tough days when you don’t have the will to get to the gym or field. Put blinders on and move forward. Don’t focus too much on your ultimate goal, or it might seem insurmountable. Take it one step at a time and you will gradually get where you want to go.