Updated: Jan 3, 2021
In a time where you are in a consistent daily routine, waking up, going to training, going to school, back to training or work in the afternoon, recovery, pain, making nutritious food plans, day after day after day, then you're told - WE ARE CLOSED. That is it. Shut down. NO more. Covid-19 stops you in your tracks. One by one competitions get cancelled. All goals for 2020 have just been blown out of the water. What was once a known consistency has been ripped to shreds. Now what?
All athletes crave routine. We love the consistency of a daily routine, the constant challenges of training, the environment in which training allows us to let go of "stuff" and just be ourselves in the moment, the social connection of others who share the same goals and desires as you. Athletes LIVE for their sport, build their lives around it and when all of that gets taken away by so much uncertainty, it can be very overwhelming. So much of our passion, drive and determination goes into making sure the day is set for the best training sessions possible, we have goals set for weeks, months and years. Now life will never be the same!! Sounds dramatic right? To an athlete this is reality. It is not as easy as saying "it is ok, you always have next year". An athletes life and longevity in the sport is never guaranteed. Some athletes may have made state, national or international teams based on ages and next year are unable to keep their selection. For others 2020 may have been their year to retire. Devastating. But there is something we all learn as athletes... Perception. "the way in which something is regarded, understood, or interpreted" If we perceive a situation to be hard or difficult, then it is so. As athletes turn up to training and look at the days plan set out and perceive it to be a difficult program, the chances are they will struggle through it. But if we turn it around and look at it with a view of understanding the challenge that is in front of us, we perceive it as an easier task to deal with. This worldwide pandemic hasn't happened directly to us, to hurt us, to mess us up, to stop our goals and dreams. Maybe it has happened to test us, to see if we really want to be doing what we are doing. Maybe this has happened to remind us that our sport isn't the only thing in life we need to focus on. My interpretation of this time is a positive one. It has shut down training facilities, well how creative can we be with getting the results we need without specialised equipment? Alot of athletes now have to train alone without coach contact, this teaches us full passion and discipline because if we really want to reach our goals we don't need a coach to be there with us. we know what to do, we just need to do it. Competitions cancelled, ok, back to basics, time to spend on rehab, injury prevention, strengthening up the mind and body. But I'm still stuck
Remind yourself this is not forever. Remind yourself you are not alone in this. Utilise this time to try something new that will be beneficial to your goals. Try running, yoga, dance, reading, meditation, motivational podcast. Be realistic about what will be next and plan towards it. Worst case scenario competition will be 12 months delayed so reset goals. Make new vision boards. Surround yourself (virtually) with people that can support one another. Journal your emotions and feelings. Identify the things we can control now and don't stress over the things we can't. This is a tough time, but that is why you are an athlete - you are tougher! This time is forcing you to find new strengths and creative pathways for you to be the best YOU. Take this time to focus on what is important right now. The destination hasn't moved - the journey has just taken the scenic route! Perception
This lockdown period is gold, it is providing a hibernation period in which when released will emerge the best version of YOU. Will you use it for what it is worth?
This is my view on the pandemic as an ex-athlete and coach. We will get through this, together.