ATHLETES are always on the lookout for an easier way to achieve their goals to win that elusive trophy that every sportsperson desperately wants.
Many invest in a new kit, right sports material and everything under the sun to improve their chances of success. However, one thing that cannot be short-cut is the consistent application of hard work.
Consistency is a word that doesn’t get the credit it deserves. It is the least glamorous of training habits, and yet, it deserves full attention.
As the Zambian contingent shapes up for the All Africa Games (AAG) billed for Congo Brazzaville next month, consistency will be a key element in their quest for success.
Boxers, Judokas, Swimmers and runners have warmed up for the AAG after competing at various international tournaments.
Regardless of their performance in the recent international competition, consistent workouts could see them bounce back on a high at the forthcoming Pan African Games.
There are a number of athletes that would bang a few amazing workouts in a row, and then miss two sessions.
For many athletes in Zambia, it is frustrating to be feeling like they are starting over from scratch every time they fall off the wagon. However, in real sense, those missed and botched workouts add up to some serious training time over the course of a season.
In sport, there are no short cuts in getting to the summit. A trainer may be of great help along the way by recognising athletes’ efforts and flaws.
It is common practice for athletes to tilt effort towards the things they believe they are or skilled at and being consistent is exactly one of those things that one can identify with.
After all, perception drives action. The idea is that when one identifies themselves as consistent in a respective sport, they are more likely to behave in ways that align with the way they see themselves.
400m runner Kabange Mupopo is an example of athletes that have aligned themselves with a skill they think they are good at.
Kabange has been a prolific forward in the women senior national soccer team but she has skewed her energies toward athletics, a sport that has earned her accolades on the continent.
One has to design their environment for consistency. It is one thing for one to say they want to make the most of their training and that they want to be the best version of the athlete they can be but if the time spent outside of the sport is acting in direct conflict to their goals, then how serious are they?
Staying focused is also another important element that in the short term can be difficult for athletes with big dreams because they are perpetually looking down at the bottom of the calendar.
The word of caution to the athletes is that instead of dropping the consistency ball, they should stay focused on their training from day one by setting short term (monthly, weekly, daily) goals for training.
The options are endless for what kind of targets one wants to set, such as attendance, effort level, spending extra time after practice working on the skills etc.
While it is important for an athlete to have one eye on the long term success, they should also keep the other on the very hurdle that lies ahead of them.
It’s really important for athletes to concentrate and stay focused in sports because when they concentrate, they become totally involved in what they’re doing and feel as if time has stopped.
If one does not care about what is really happening around them, they are not easily distracted because they are totally tuned in to what they are doing.
Focus is a must have in athletes as it is one of the most important mental skills in sports.
Children, who have had a hard time focusing, are easily distracted by doubts, negative thoughts, mistakes or other factors like coaches yelling during a game.
Like children, most athletes tend to lose focus or space out during competition. It is important to understand that although one can improve their concentration, it is impossible to be on all the time.
In such instances, Athletes should always remember that the way they practice is the way they would perform. If their application is sloppy in practice, they should expect the same results when grappling against a resisting opponent.
Practice is the best time to work on focus and concentration. One may need to modify their approach before they put it into action in a game. Every athlete has the power to concentrate in their respective sports.
A big part of getting into the zone is learning how to ignore distractions and focus on the right things.
Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org