Muscles get the money shot.
Abs get the spot light.
And speed gets fame and glory.
But if that's all there is to being an athlete....then almost ANYONE can do it. All you have to do is train, right?
Ever tried that? Full on, crash course into 100% effort training?
How did it go? Like a dumpster fire on wheels?
Action plans like that usually end as quickly as they start. There's no shame in admitting you've tried this in one version or another. I know I have....and they've never worked for me, either.
Afterwards though, you learn it doesn't work. Maybe because you didn't plan enough, you didn't prep enough, you weren't STRONG enough...
...nope. stop right there...
You are an athlete. And that makes you Athlete Strong. You've gotten here, to this point, through hard work, sweat, commitment, and persistence. So what if you've had a one...or two...dumpster fires of your own. Here are 3 signs you're stronger than you think.
1. You learn from failure and try again.
Sounds simple, right? After your dumpster fire crashed and came to a screeching halt, you sat down and drafted another training plan. This time, one that was more realistic, obtainable, and influenced from the failings of the previous one. Don't ever think that failure is because you weren't good enough or you weren't strong enough. There's always room to grow and improve, especially as an athlete where we dissect every play and scrutinize every practice. But we don't always know how or what to improve on until we fail and we can see more clearly which direction we need to be headed in. We succeed the most when we re-frame failure into something inevitable but NOT crippling. When we see failure as a foundation-builder instead of foundation-destroyer, we rise to a new level of strong.
2. You learn to sift through criticism
Everybody has an opinion on sports, don't they? You should train like this; eat like that. This play should have gone like...; you should have responded with...
Criticism can be constructive, valid, and improve your performance as an athlete! It can also be exhausting, mind-numbing, and degrading.
Learning to sift through criticism and identify the valid opinions from this hot-air ones takes practice, skill, and time. It takes self-reflection to learn the difference and respond accordingly. Sifting through criticism takes a strong mind. You're sitting with outside opinions and ideas which can bring up gut-reactions of "I totally suck. I can't believe I missed that shot" or "It's not my fault. My teammate wasn't where they were supposed to be during the play". It takes a strong athlete to say "hmm, I did this part well....but maybe I really do need to improve on...."
3. You keep showing up.
Despite the failure and the criticism, you stay committed. You stay Athlete Strong.
"Just show up" can seem trite or flippant...but it's the action behind it that speaks volumes. I can't tell you how many basketball, volleyball, or cross country camps I went to as a young athlete where the number of athletes attending dropped dramatically from Day 1 to Day 6. They just dropped out. Maybe it was too hard, too long, or just to early in the morning. But they left, without giving a reason. And from where the rest of us sat, it looked like they didn't care. When you sign up for something and you stick with it. And that's Athlete Strong.
So, see? Not every one can do what you do.
You are stronger than you think. You are an athlete.
And while the camera can't capture your determination and grit, the stop watch can't time your early morning hustle-ups and wake-ups, you know your strength as an athlete comes from your character.
And that makes you Athlete Strong.
Tell me your moments when you were Athlete Strong in the comments below. I love to hear your stories.