The season is over, you don’t have another game, competition, or meet for another 6 months. You have two options, take time off or take active time off and begin to prepare for the next season. One of those attitudes forms a habit, losing just as the other forms a habit of winning. Winning a particular game, competition, or meet didn’t start at tip off, with “play ball”, or at kickoff. Winning started long before any of those moments came, it didnt happen in one day, it happened every moment before the event began. Winning is habitual because those who know how to master their time, overcome themselves, and ,for lack of better terms, go against the grain utimately creates the ability to win.
The Value of Time
Knowing how to win, and understanding what it takes to win involves mastering time. Time is this double edged sword that lulls you into a false sense of security that there is always more time. When in actuality time is something you can never get back. Unlike money, once you have invested time into something or absolutely nothing it is gone forever. It will trick you in the short term by making you think you have more time to sleep, so you set that alarm an hour later or hit the snooze button a dozen times before waking up Time can also trick you in the long term by making you think there is more time left before the season starts or there is more time left in your career. When in actuality there isn’t much time.
Everyone always talks about time management and making a schedule so you know when and where to be. This can be a great tactic, ONLY if you take the time you have and act with purpose. Ask yourself this question what am I doing with the time I have? Just because something is scheduled in your day doesn’t mean you took the time to make it of value. So what you went to class, if you weren’t taking notes or paying attention you didn’t learn anything. So what you went to practice today, every single one of your opponents did too, that doesn’t mean that you got better. You have to have a certain mentality when it comes to time, you can waste time or you can kill time. Did you:
- Eat cause you were hungry (went and got fast food/ate junk food) or did you put food in your body for nourishment ?(made a home cooked meal/brought healthy snacks with you)
- Go straight to practice or did you have a plan of what you wanted to work on today?
- Leave practice with the thought it was just another day or did you take notes on what you did well and didn’t do well that day in practice?
- Leave right after or did you spend an extra 20 minutes afterwards working on a skill ?(shooting, swinging, throwing, puck handling, footwork, anything)
- To sit in the weightroom and “lift” or did you go in there and put some work in?
- Watch film or did you break down your opponents strengths and weaknesses so you are prepared?
- Go into a game guessing or did you study the last time you faced a particular opponent ?(knew what types of pitches they struck you out on or what you hit well off of them)
- Did you go out with your friends and party or did you get rest?
- Did wait until the last minute to cram or did you do your homework and study in consistent intervals ?
These are the differences in taking time to get better at your craft (killing time) or wasting time not getting better at your craft. All of those things create a gap between you and your opponent, which option you choose/chose will decide if you are ahead or if your opponent is.
Before you can overcome any physical barriers (weights, opponents, teammates, etc) you have to overcome yourself. There is no greater opponent that you will ever face than you. Because nobody is perfect you will try to make excuses; I have homework, it’s too early, its too late, it’s too hard, etc. Realizing the more excuses that you make the less you accomplish is what seperates those who succeed and those who don’t. My cousin once taught me a saying when I was little that has stuck with me ever since, “Excuses are monuments of nothingness. They build bridges to nowhere. Those who use these tools of incompetence, seldom become anything but nothing at all.” It sums up perfectly, to me, how making one excuse will ultimately lead to another until the moment comes and is gone.
Being able to overcome yourself is a daily task. If it were easy everyone would be All-Americans, or All-Area, or World Champions. It starts with a few simple concepts:
Know Thyself- Everyone knows what their pitfalls are, even when they don’t want to admit them. Whether it’s hitting the snooze button, procrastination, or binge watching Netflix. You know what takes away from your success. If you don’t know, figure out what is keeping you from being where you want to be.
Delaying gratification- This is the idea of sacrificing present comfort for future gains.This is a tough one for everyone because we are creatures of impulse that seek to satisfy our wants rather than our needs. If success is to be had it’s crucial to put off those things that are often in the way. Delaying gratification
- Getting work done immediately vs. taking a nap/ Taking a gratiutously long nap
- Being productive vs. Watching an episode of your favorite show
- Preparing a healthy meal vs. Getting fastfood
- Doing homework vs. Getting onto social media
- Getting an early start to the day vs. Sleeping in
- Going hard during every drill vs. Pulling up short on an exercise or sprint because you are almost done
Cutting out some of the “unnecessary necessities” makes it possible to develop habits that make a person more productive in reaching their goals.
Acceptance- Lastly accepting who you are, what you are good at/not the best at, owning those things, and taking responsibility for one’s actions. Everyone isn’t Michael Jordan, that’s a fact. Coming to terms with your pitfalls and talent level will take you a long way. This is the difference between a person with skill and talent. A person with talent can wake up everyday and be able to do things an average person can’t because they were born that way. A person with skill has to work hard everyday to hoan their skills and master their craft. Overtime skill finds a way to beat talent. While talent was at home sleeping, skill got up at 6 am and put his/her work in. So when the time came and skill faced talent luck, opportunity, and hard-work collided to create a moment. In that moment that hard-work and dedication lead to success, which led to repeated moments of success. Without that hard-work all that is left is luck and an opportunity, and because of that skill wins everytime.
Going Against the Grain
Dr. Seuss once said, “You have to be odd to be number one”. This quote rings true. If you want to win you have to do the things that other people aren’t doing or aren’t willing to do. That means taking care of your small injuries, training when you “dont have time”, taking 50 more swings in the batting cage, putting up 100 more shots, etc. Plain and simple you have to act, most importantly, with purpose.
Going against the grain is is one of the hardest things to do for someone who wants to be successful. People will judge, question, and even dissuade a person from the actions they are taking to reach their goals. Do you go to that party the night after your game so the next day you stay in bed all day because your partied all night? OR Do you go home get some rest so that the next day you can watch film, go to the gym, or have a skill session? This is an example of what makes this tough, because it is on a road that is less traveled, this is what makes the difference. The person who chooses this road truly understands what it takes to win. They know the price of making sacrifices, they have felt the solitude of leadership, they have felt the weight of accountability, and they are better for it.
Bruce Lee once said, “Long-term consistency trumps short-term itensity”. Making the necessary choices to find success and win is a daily effort. Without those choices the average person stays average and even the most talented person remains underdeveloped. When it is all said and done those who can do all of the things previously discussed in this article, those are the people who will find success and win.