When I was 12 years old I saw every summer the Tour the France and the unbelievable guys that ride the most difficult climbs in France, during 3 weeks. After every Tour the France day, I thought “I want to do that!”. I leave my parents’ home with my MTB bike, start climbing the most difficult courses in the area and create some time trial routes.
At 14 years old, I have entered in a swimming team due to some spine problems. At first, I was not compelled to be a great swimmer and to train to achieve something. Perhaps because the team is new and everyone is a little bit newbie in the sport. Only at 18 years old I met a group of swimmers that had clear goals in their minds about what they want to achieve in the pools.
At 23 years old, due to some shoulder problems I have started to run. I have made some competitions in the road and in track & field, as I continue to do.
In all 3 sports that I have done and continue to practice, I have achieved some interesting things but I have failed in the majority of goals that I have established during the years. Looking back now and trying to understand why is a good self-improvement exercise.
In cycling, I have done the majority of my rides alone. I didn’t have any friends that want to ride the bike with me at the time. Only as an adult, I entered in cycling groups and because of that, I have improved a lot. Ride in a group makes us feel part of something that we don’t want to leave. When we are in a group there is always someone that is leading the group and that person is spending more energy at the front to bring the group at their desired pace. The “group effect” also have other positive effects. If you want or not, in a group we are always observing the other group elements, learning from their strengths and weaknesses and trying to adopt the best practices from them. All this group dynamic makes a big bike ride or a big climb easier to overpass. Our levels of motivation are higher and psychological effort is decreased.
In swimming, I met a guy that was my training partner for some years. That guy has an extreme discipline in training, following strictly the planning every day, week and year. Besides anything that could happen, the training plan is to follow. Another thing that he was always telling me is to do the present task as it is the only one, not conditioning the present one thinking in the next one. I don’t need to tell you that my friend achieved great things in swimming.
One day I was running a mile race and, near the finish, I did not notice that another athlete was coming from behind and passes me almost at the finish line. He was third place. After the finish, I kept thinking that I could give some extra effort to be the third place but I cannot go back in time. The third place and I have started talking after the race, about the race itself and about running in general and believe or not we are friends now.
My experience in competitive sports has shown me and taught me some important skills to achieve. The team effort can be a booster of our effort and capacities if we are a strong team. Our levels of motivation can be higher and our practical learning skills are always energized by the others.
To achieve we always need a vision and a plan to get there. Stick to the plan every hour and every day of your life and something good could happen at the end. If we are always thinking about the next thing that we need to do and conditioning our mind and motivation by that, everything becomes more difficult.
In training and competitions, if we don’t push ourselves to the limit, we will not score and excellence will be left behind.
Sports taught me a lot of things and gave me some important skills, not only to score in sports but to score in life. Those skills that I have told are some that we need to apply in almost everything in our life if we want to score and achieve goals. Sports have this capacity but we need to think in processes and persevere.