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
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?