Make Your Training Weaknesses Your New Strengths

STACK Expert Roger Lockridge offers five strategies that can help you transform your weaknesses into new strengths.

Nobody's perfect. We all have training weaknesses, and every athlete has a chink in his or her competitive armor that opponents try to exploit. So what can we do to eliminate those weaknesses? Whether a part of your game needs improving or you struggle with certain muscle groups in the gym, the following strategies can help you transform your weaknesses into new strengths.

Be Honest

Many people give excuses about why they struggle, but excuses get you nowhere fast. The more time you spend trying to rationalize why you may not be good at something, the less time you have to work on solutions to improve. The first thing you must do if you want to cure your weaknesses is to admit they are actually weaknesses. You'll be less frustrated in the long run and get closer to making progress.

Have a Strong Mind

While trying to improve, you may get frustrated and begin to doubt yourself if you don't see results immediately. You may not know the way to succeed, but the one surefire way to fail is to not believe in yourself. If you want  to make it happen, you must know that you can find a way to get better. If you don't know in your mind that you can do it, there is no chance of progress. You must also know that it might take a long time, and you need the confidence to believe it will happen as long as you are patient and dedicated.

Prioritize Your Weaknesses

Let's say a basketball player plays phenomenal defense, shares the ball with every teammate and can get inside to score at will—but can barely hit one of two from the free-throw line. Why would he work on his defense or inside shooting? If he needs to improve his shooting from the stripe, that should be the first thing on his mind during practice and the last thing he works on before he walks off the court.

You shouldn't ignore your strengths completely, but you will be able to fix your flaws only if you devote more time to working on them. Bodybuilders do the same thing. If a bodybuilder has great arms and shoulders but weak leg development, he will organize his training around improving his legs—by training legs first or adding an extra leg workout during the week.

Explore All Possibilities

Sometimes more isn't the only answer. You should explore other possible options to achieve success. Assuming that something won't work and not giving it a try only hurts you in the long run.

Using the basketball player example again, perhaps shooting 500 foul shots a day is not the ultimate answer. Perhaps he needs to change his form before the free throws start falling in. Hank Gathers, a college basketball star from the 1980's, had to switch from shooting with his right hand to his left before he saw results.

If you are struggling to gain strength in your legs, substitute new exercises in place of the ones you've been doing (like Back Squats instead of Leg Presses). It never hurts to explore any possibility if your goal is to improve.

RELATED: Find Your Hidden Weaknesses

Get Help

It's not a sign of weakness to ask someone for help. If anything, it's a true sign of strength.

If you shoot 55 percent and your teammate shoots 90 percent, it makes sense to seek his advice and to learn what you've been doing wrong and he is doing right. The advice may or may not help, but knowledge never hurts. The same principle applies to training. If you do great at some lifts but struggle with others, talk to a coach or trainer and see what you might do differently to make progress.

RELATED: No More Weak Links: How to Train the Muscles No One Sees

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