In the Elite Action Series, we explore elite athlete strategies you can apply to your life. I’ve used them all as I’ve accumulated 15 world championship titles in my sport. Last time, we explored the strategy of being systematic. This time, it’s about who is around us.
Strategy 2: Assemble Your Team
Photo by Arthur Coddington
Pro teams have legions of staff to handle all the details, freeing the players to focus on their training. The best individual athletes have the same thing. The fortunate ones with sponsorships and prize money build an entourage of coaches, physical therapists, practice partners and assistants to keep them focused, healthy and sharp. The rest of us without budgets need to be more scrappy to apply the same strategy. We invest in the best professional support possible and improvise when needed.
My sport thrives without big budgets and lucrative endorsement contracts. We play for the love of the game. Our friends are our support network.
I never had a formal freestyle coach, but I’ve received masterful coaching from my teammates. They had a vision for where I could take my game. They gave me feedback on what was working and what wasn’t, and they gave me ideas for new things to try.
When I trained with my competition team, we didn’t have choreographers. We invented our routines then relied on our critical eye – and the critical eyes of our friends and family to achieve excellence. When we felt the limitations of our bodies, we invested in yoga or dance classes. When we practiced, we didn’t have a team of assistants marking the field, keeping time and collecting video. Our friends were sometimes kind enough to run the video camera, and when they weren’t around we put the camera on the tripod and tried to stay in frame. After workouts, we didn’t have fancy cryotherapy chambers to help our recovery. We had bags of supermarket ice.
We weren’t stopped by the absence of structure. We assembled the team we could. We made it happen. Whatever it takes.
It’s the same beyond sports. The support that comes with our jobs may not be enough to support the elite level performance we want. Who’s on your support team? What’s missing between you and achieving greatness? What will keep you focused on the essential? Where are you willing to invest money for support? Who are you willing to ask for help?
Photo by Lynne Hand
Elite athletes continually push their limits. They find new gears or fall behind. Pushing limits has been the key to me competing at the elite level for two decades and winning 15 world championship titles. In this Elite Action Series, I’ll share strategies from elite athletes that can shake up your performance and push your limits. Let’s start with the plan that comes from inspiration.
Continue reading “Elite Action Series Part 1: The Doughnut Issue”
Photo by Jessica Ladoe
Last month I won two more world championships in Freestyle Frisbee, my 14th and 15th titles. I had the privilege of playing with three incredible, inspiring teammates this year – Jake Gauthier, Matt Gauthier and Dave Murphy. Though we knew our teams would contend for the titles, we had deep respect for our opponents. We knew we were in for battles. To win both titles was a dream scenario.
Continue reading “World Champion Again”
It’s an irritating nudge growing in intensity until it drowns out everything else. It’s tension. Frustration. Scapegoating. It’s ugly. And then the bottom comes, a swirly mess like being in free fall, tossed around in a hurricane. It’s a powerless, painful moment. And it’s the prelude to breakthrough.
Sometimes it seems we wait for rock bottom before we’re ready to change jobs, get fit, end a relationship or make any other big jump in our lives. Acting from rock bottom is a reactive way of fixing things, a back-against-the-wall scenario that’s not likely to lead to the biggest difference we can make for ourselves.
It’s a crisis response. What we’ve been doing is not working. We didn’t want to take extraordinary action, but our heart knows we need to. We’ve been coasting along, and now it’s different. It’s not about getting by. It’s a choice between withering and taking a chance to thrive.
Continue reading “Soaring Past Discomfort To Breakthroughs”
My coach, Ann Betz, and I were talking yesterday about vocal range in coaching. As an introvert, one of the things I’ve noticed about coaching training is that when range is mentioned, the training is toward going big. Being louder. Being more animated. Being crazier. What’s missing is equal emphasis on the companion lesson of being more quiet, more still, more grounded. Challenging territory for an introvert – and ripe with growth opportunities. Not as challenging territory for extroverts, and the omission of stillness deprives them of a chance to expand…or is that condense?
Continue reading “The Melody of Coaching”