You already have what it takes to be great!
What does it take to be amazing at your sport?
If you show up to practice every time, isn’t that enough?!
Ever since a young age, I always dreamed of being a professional athlete. The problem was that I didn’t know what MY sport would be. In middle school, I tried everything football, baseball, basketball, soccer, tennis, but I was Junior Varsity in everything thing that I tried, and always sitting on the bench. I loved them all, but I just couldn’t keep up with the best at our school. With my dream of being a great athlete still in the back of my mind, I trudged on. Finally, my sophomore year while joining my friends on the track team I got a glimmer of what I could do. For the first time in my life I made a Varsity team. I was a jumper (long, triple, and high jump). Even though I could now sport the varsity uniform at home, (which I admit that I did) I was far from the best. Well, if I couldn’t be the best on my little local high school squad, how was I going to be the great athlete that I envisioned in my head? That is when the real magic in my story began. I watched old video tapes and read every book that I could get about jumping and they all pointed to one thing. If I wanted to run faster and jump higher than everyone else, I had to work harder than everyone else. With this new insight, I got to work!
When I went to practice, I did exactly what the coaches asked me to do, and sometimes even some extra. If they said to run 10 hill sprints, I ran 10 hill sprints as hard as I could (which wasn’t much to begin with J). What I noticed was that most of my teammates would slow down when the coach turned his back, or they half heartedly went through our technique drills. I refused to give anything, but my best. I also started to do extra things. On weekends and during the off season, I would sprint hills and stairs near my house, even with snow on the ground. I was determined to be the best that I could be. I started lifting weights to get stronger. At first I didn’t know how to properly lift weights and my family couldn’t afford a strength coach, so I turned to books and magazines for guidance. Not the most effective method, but I started to get stronger. After a lot of hard work, it began to pay off. I went from being junior varsity at everything my sophomore year to a state champion my senior year, and earned an athletic scholarship to BYU!
Now at a NCAA Division 1 university that competes with every school across the country, I found out really quick that I was no longer the best at my sport. So I decided to use my same formula that worked before:
Learn everything about your sport and what it takes to be great + work harder than everyone else = Success
I finished my collegiate career being able to jump 7’3”. That is being able to jump my whole body over a bar that is 14” over my head (without a stick… that’s the pole vault); becoming a 3x All-American high jumper (ranking in the top 10 among all collegiate jumpers in the country). If I could do it, so can you! Everyone has the potential to be great, but not everyone gets to see it, because they do not follow the formula. Become a student of your sport. Learn everything you can about it. Find out what the greats did, like our former Olympian Coach Kirby (what an awesome resource!) and then work as hard as you can every day! Get really good at the basics (passing, setting, and digging) and then get faster and stronger (strength training). Your small daily efforts will add up and soon you will be able to share your story with others! Now get to work!
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