Winning is good – it’s a high like no other. It’s also sets the standard for not wanting to be left behind on the track, in the water or ripping down the mountain. Winning is a true sense of accomplishment that really doesn’t come on race day… it starts long before that. Winning first starts with attitude, an attitude that is not only instilled in you at a young age by your parents and coaches, but cultivated within your hard and soft wiring as a person. When put this together in the right way, these attributes almost always lead to winning… but it takes time.
Let’s take a look at at an Olympic athlete, who once every four years gets to showcase their talents to the world in pursuit of Olympic glory. They don’t just arrive at the venue ready to compete – the preparation starts literally years and in some cases decades before! Malcom Gladwell explains that to become an expert in almost anything takes 10 years or 10,000 hours of practice, which means at a very young age, you have to commit to your chosen sport. This is why Olympic athletes become so specialized in their approach to competing. They may only do sprinting events, or the high jump or mogul skiing – they have to specialize very early in life and repeat the skills over and over again. Sure there may be a number of competitions along the way for an Olympic hopeful, however all of these competitions are simply practice for the Olympics. The athletes compete to prepare for the ultimate prize.
Action Sports are no different in the fact that they take thousands of hours of preparation to rise to the top. And with such young athletes earning pro status in our sports, the preparation has to start very young. It’s not uncommon to see three-year-olds lining up on the start gate at the BMX park, or five-year-olds banging bars at the motocross track. These are some of the hours needed to prepare for things to come. Later, these kids become young adults and the competition at that age gets harder. These blossoming athletes need to look at other means of improving their performance. Typically we see these athletes look more at nutrition and physical training in and out of a gym. Preparing their body’s becomes the way they can get an advantage on the competition. Because everyone has similar mechanical equipment (bikes, boards, skis etc.), this is the factor that needs to be mastered to prepare for winning.
Time learning how to lift weights, how to manipulate the diet, how to improve performance with sports supplements, and how to ride a bike at the correct heart rate are just a couple of the factors that will prepare you for winning. The issue is that these disciplines need to start early in life and be coached in a fun, safe and motivational way if kids aren’t going to burn out before they reach their potential. Let’s keep taking our kids to practice, races and training session so that we bring up a new generation of winners in and out of competition.