It’s almost time for pitchers and catchers to report to spring training. Last year during a spring training game broadcast, an announcer mentioned that a number of athletes were injured or otherwise struggling to get back in the game—even at this early stage of competition! I was amazed. I’d thought today’s athletes were better prepared for competitive performance than ever before. Yet this announcer indicated there were a lot of athletes on the disabled list.
I had to wonder, Why are these top level professional athletes getting injured, struggling to get back in the game at the beginning of a season? What had these ballplayers done to prepare their bodies before the season? What are they doing now to stay performance-ready on game days?
And let me put a question directly to you: How is your performance preparation serving you?
At the highest levels of competition, it is your responsibility to take stock of your daily training regimen, your daily workouts. Just like the training itself is daily, you need to take stock daily. Are you paying attention to what your body is asking for? Are you addressing what it’s asking you to address? In my experience, the body is wise; it’s absolutely sagacious. If you choose to ignore a hamstring that is making itself known or an ache in your right elbow, once the season starts, you’re likely to be dealing with nagging aches and pains! Wouldn’t you rather focus on the joy of playing the game!
As you assess your workouts and performance preparation, here are some questions you can ask yourself:
What am I doing in pre-game preparation that’s allowing me to perform at my best?
Am I bored with my daily conditioning regimen or pre-game warm-ups? If I am bored, why?
Am I fully present and focused as I execute my drills, or is my head somewhere else?
What is something my body is asking from me that I’m not paying attention to?
It’s vital that you listen to your body, that you pay attention to what it is telling you. You alone are responsible to care for yourself and ask for the help you need, so you avoid the dreaded DL. Notice your mindset while you’re warming up for a game. Could you change the way you approach a particular exercise? You might spend one workout focusing on more careful execution. You might consider spending one workout on slower and more fluid motions. Maybe your body is telling you to skip an exercise one day because that part of your body is fatigued or strained. Rather than doing the exercise half-heartedly, leave it out for today. Pay attention to your own wisdom as you prepare your body for the game in front of you so that you feel truly primed and ready.
Kamala Nellen is a sports performance coach and author of the book, Working IN; The Elite Athlete’s Guide to Working Out from the Inside. Nellen targets solutions to physical and mental issues that impact sports performance and offers practices to keep athletes durable and increase forward momentum. To request a complimentary consultation, click here.
Kamala Nellen. Coaching for Champions. Copyright 2017. All rights reserved.