News Letter Late-Summer 2012
Hello and welcome to my late-summer News Letter for 2012.
Still in the Olympic theme, I thought I'd share an experience I've recently had, one of inspiration and how the image of grit & determination on the face of a 14 year old gymnast made me train properly.
I recently watched a beeb documentary (BBC2, "Gymnast") that follows the British girls hoping for a place on the gymnastics team that went  to Beijing for the 2008 Summer Olympics. Even if you are not into gymnastics, this is a "must watch" as it gives a rare insight into the long and arduous path toward being offered a shot at fullfilling a dream. It shows how nothing is guaranteed, nothing is certain and even after training for 4 years of hard work, the rug may still be pulled away due to injury or, simply, having a bad day.
For me, the most interesting bits were the training & coaching scenes but in particular, one scene has really affected me. This shows one girl trying to master a particular move on the horizontal bars. The focus and determination on her face is just incredible, and all the more inspiring when you realise she is only 14 years of age.
As a Trainer & Coach I spend a lot of time trying to motivate athletes, providing guidance, technical feedback and pushing them beyond where they might otherwise stop. What I also try to do is to help them help themselves, in other words, I provide them with a tool-kit of techniques that will help them stay focussed during training when I'm not there or whilst they compete in an event.
The tool-kit is customised to suit their personality and includes a range of techniques for different situations or circumstances. I like to keep things simple and tend to use stuff like imagery, positive association and self-belief etc. Sometimes its not immediately obvious where the right images come from, and in fact, some may only appear in the heat of the moment.
This is exactly what happened to me recently whilst on my turbo-trainer.
I had planned to do a session of sprint-intervals, something I knew would be hard but an evil necessity. I was mid-way through my second set of sprints, quads on fire, my heart rate at 205bpm and, dare I say it, ABOUT TO GIVE-UP (!), when suddenly, POW! the image of the 14 year old gymnast appeared in my mind.
The image was so strong and was so inspiring that I found new focus, new determination and a higher pain-threshold. Not only did I complete the training session but I now have another image in my mental tool-kit for future use.
Ok, so what's the message here?
1 - If you are planning to do a hard training session, make sure you've got the right tool-kit to enable you to do the job properly. Ask yourself, how are you going to keep focussed when the going gets tough? A sprint session is about sprinting, it's not about poodling along at a mere 85%.
2 - Watch and read what other athletes are doing, their experiences (or advice) may provide you with the right images and inspiration. The Olympics and Paralympics have been great for this, so make the most of it.
3 - If you are struggling with focus/motivation or find that you often don't complete your training sessions properly, have a chat with a Coach.
I hope this has been both interesting and useful to you.
If you would like any advice or help with your training please do get in contact.
Also, if you would like to try the killer sprint-interval session, ping me a reply to this email with subject heading "Turbo 10sec Sprint".

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Happy Training!


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