Calgary, AB -December 23, 2020. After each on-field or on-floor session at ELEV8 Lacrosse, we bring the student-athletes into a “huddle” and discuss topics relative to not only athletics and sports but life. Periodically, we will share with student-athletes and their families pieces on adversity, growth, leadership and mindset, and working through the day to day challenges that life can throw at us.
Last spring when ELEV8 Lacrosse introduced The Huddle, we kicked things off with a piece about falling in love with “The Process.” We all have goals and aspirations we pursue, which includes a process to follow to achieve a particular accomplishment. Day in and day out we compete with ourselves, following a path of focus, discipline and dedication, striving to ultimately achieve that particular goal. The attention to the path is so important, and almost more worthwhile than achieving the goal itself.
In athletic environments, particularly those that involve competition within a season, the ultimate “goal” may be the game of the week, tournament or league championship. The “process” being weekly team practices and training. At any level of competitive sports, it’s not a simple equation of “sticking to the process = achieving the goal.” Some variables come into play, whether controllable or uncontrollable. Sticking to the process may not be enough for success. There are moments where the level at which we execute our process needs to be elevated.
The phrase “practice how you play” speaks volumes for young student-athletes. Practice can be a mundane task for some as most of us itch for the taste of competition. It’s not only important for athletes to fall in love and enjoy practice, they must train and practice at a level that comes second nature for success in stressful situations.
Think about the biggest game you have ever played in. Were you stressed? Anxious? Excited? Worried about making mistakes? It is safe you say you’re not alone. As competitive athletes, we all experience those emotions. It’s our fight or flight response kicking-in and making sure we are ready for the challenge ahead.
When taking into consideration all the external factors coming into play during a competitive setting, there is bound to be stress imposed. The most important thing you can rely on in these situations is your training. You can’t control the environment, the referees, the crowd. Multiple distractions can occur. The outcome of every second, minute and play has yet to be revealed. It’s what makes sports so exciting. It’s unpredictable.
What’s predictable is the focus, dedication and intensity you have applied to your training. Control what you can control and then take it to another level during your process. Train with intent and practice day in and day out as if it were the championship game next week. When that day arrives, you will be ready for whatever is thrown your way.