A Message to the Non-Elite Athlete

We have the pleasure of working with quite a few accomplished athletes at Lift Lab. Some of them are former ‘’mainstream’’ sport athletes who switched to weightlifting. Some are still at it. Every once in a while I’ll hear someone say something that I really like. Well that happened last week and I want to pass it on to all the non-elite athletes; the ones who have a huge drive to get better. I was talking to one of our lifters while he was training. His strong points are where I lack; speed, flexibility and timing. I don’t remember the exact conversation, but I remember asking him if he was always a fast lifter. He said yes and that it always seemed to come naturally to him. One thing led to another and we got on the topic of all the things I need to work on. His response? “Well, that just means you’ve got room to get better. You haven’t reached your peak.” It wouldn’t seem like a big deal, but I’ve been thinking about that ever since he said it. I’ve been in similar conversations with my athletes and have even said the same thing to them. I had been spending my whole lifting career thinking ‘’Man, when I get faster under the bar I’m gonna be able to…’’ or ‘’When I get better flexibility I’ll be able to…’’ and getting frustrated because as an athlete, you can never be fast enough or be strong enough. Sure I’ve improved speed and flexibility quite a bit, but hearing this changed my whole perspective on where I am in this sport. So many middle-of-the-road athletes seem to get frustrated because there are so many things they need to improve. Remember that for all the areas you're lacking in, you have that much room to get better. Unless you're the perfect athlete, you still have room to improve. And that’s a good thing. I still have so many areas to improve to become a better athlete and you probably do too. Keeping this in mind has helped my outlook on my progress in weightlifting. Try thinking about your abilities in your respective sport the same way. Don't think ''My flexibility sucks. If I could move like that guy, I'd be so much better.'' Think ''My flexibility has room to get better. As it gets better I'm going to be a much better athlete.'' Don't think ''I'm so weak compared to everyone else. If I could just throw the bar around like they do, I'd Snatch/Clean so much more weight.'' Think ''I'm already this good with how strong I am. I'm only going to be that much better the stronger I get.'' Feeling sorry for yourself because you’re not as fast or as strong as the next guy only leads to frustration. Frustration never helped anyone get better. So stop thinking about where you’re lacking in a negative light. Remember that you have the potential to be better than you are right now. As long as you work hard and do the right things, you’re only going to get better. Having areas you need to work on doesn’t mean you suck, it means this isn’t as good as you’re ever going to be. Keep working on those problem areas and as they get better, so will you.

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