Your Future Olympian Summit


Can You Do It All Yourself?

Andrea Henkel Burke Can You Do It All Yourself?

Yes, the athlete has to perform on their own, and we see it as their success. But to get to top results - a lot is going on in the back end. 

Usually, athletes are not alone, even when it can seem like it from the outside. You see successful athletes doing their individual training sessions all by themself, but this doesn´t necessarily mean they are completely on their own. 

It might be possible to be a little more independent throughout a career, but being successful totally on your own is not going to happen. 

I also had times when I made training decisions on my own. Early on, not so often, but over the years, I included more and more of those own decisions. Some I did totally on my own and let my coach know afterward, but most of them I even discussed with my coach that they still fit the whole picture - he still provided for me. The ideas and decisions I came up with were made from years of experience and body awareness. To develop any skill, we need guidance - and we all need support. Yes, there might be a chance someone is figuring it out all by themselves, but it might take longer, and the risk of failing is higher. Without having a coach, a training group, being part of the team, support from different organizations, or just having access to training facilities, an athlete will not be able to make good decisions. Educated choices are made through years of guidance and exposure. Even competitors are part of the whole group of positive influencers. 

Massive success comes from a team. There might be different sizes of teams, as small as two individuals, up to hundreds, depending on your definition of a team. It can be father and son - or team USA- an example of a broad spectrum. I think two is okay to start - but more influence would benefit a major success. Not only, but especially in the beginning, it´s nice for every athlete to have structure and a step-by-step plan that actually works. This structure and plan can only be provided by someone who knows the actions that need to be covered, and often it takes more people than the coach. 

Not one person can be a coach, the physiotherapists needed at one point, the one who takes care of equipment, and the one organizing all the trips. And sometimes, athletes just need to talk to someone other than the coach to get different perspectives on performance. 

Also, if one coach could do it all, why would there be so many assistant coaches and other team members. 

By letting you be part of a team, you’ll save blood, some sweat, and tears in the long run. It’s also important to be honest with your current ability and know-how. It is great to be able to make good decisions, but be aware of when you need to ask for help and know where you need to sharpen your skill set.

Do you have a Dream? Keep going towards it :)


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