IF you’re a regular on Twitter you might have caught at the start of the week I put up a poll for retired players. I wanted to know which they felt made the biggest difference in their ability to get the most from their training, having a clear team goal or having a non-negotiable training routine.
From the 205 people who voted, it was a two-thirds to one third victory in favour of the clear team goal.
And if I’m honest, I’m not surprised. Having a goal makes it easier to focus your attention on specific action steps that will take you closer to it.
You want to win a championship? Cool. Let’s make sure you’re able to train hard. Therefore we need your eating to be as good as it can be. Cut back on the drink intake ;til we’ve finished the champo push, ok? You’re going to need to get your sleep in order if you want to recover properly from what we’re asking of you etc, etc.
It’s easy to justify the actions – the difficult actions – when you’ve a crystal clear thought process behind it.
The question that presents is a straight forward one, what is your new goal? And how can it be used as effectively to justify the difficult?
Before we dive into that, Shane Curran, ex-Roscommon goalkeeper and expert in the field of Sports Performance and Psychology, offered a third option.
Enjoyment of the process. And he’s right. In a broader sense one of the primary reasons we stay within the team sports realm for so long is because we enjoy the craic. The sense of belonging. The camaraderie we have with our teammates and the shared experience of going through the trenches with your friends and peer group.
I’ve spoken about how men, as a general rule of thumb, prefer a shoulder to shoulder style of connection and friendship. That’s what makes being a part of a team such an incredible vehicle to bring out the best in us.
And why it hits so hard when that’s no longer there.
So how can you wrap ‘fun’ in to the original question? The creation of a goal to enable you to get the most from your training.
As a wiser man than me explained, you start with ‘Why’.
You might have to ask yourself a few difficult questions, questions you haven’t ever had to think about before. Questions that previously you were able to answer instantly. Take some time and have a go at these and see where it takes you.
What do you look, act and feel like in six months’ time?
Why do you want to look, act and feel that way?
What behaviours do you need to start to achieve that?
What behaviours do you need to stop?
Who do you need to spend more time with to make it easier to achieve?
Who do you need to spend less time with?
What is the one small action you can commit to doing every day that will give you the biggest return on investment in six months’ time?
Get clear on all of those answers and you’ll find that the solution to a clear goal, a consistent structure and the enjoyment of the journey will all begin to show their face.