Have a bad race? Jump straight back in the saddle and carry on.

From time to time athletes will have what they perceive as a bad performance. This can lead to a grasping at thin air, trying to decipher, or come up with a reason for what is or was a possible cause.

As an example, I have seen athletes swimming the best they have ever swum prior to a race, but then have a poor swim on race day. Whether through self doubt, or discussions in a group environment, this can lead to doubt in their training program, and a desire (by the athlete) to throw everything out and make random changes based on their insecurities following this one poor result.

As a coach talking with athletes I often heard ‘X told me this is what they do’, or ‘Y says B also had this problem and how they worked on it’. In the above example of a poor swim, common suggestions include

  1. Bad wet suit – lets get another one
  2. Swim training not right – lets change the swim program
  3. Swim technique not right – lets change swim technique.

Any, or all three have the potential to wreck a whole race season!

In the sport of horse racing there is a very specific thought, before any changes are made –

‘Forgive a horse a bad run’.

Why?
There are so many reasons for a single poor performance, and a knee jerk reaction, after what could well have been an anomaly can have dire long term effects.


There’s always the next race to line up for!

Even in sports where one would think are played under controlled circumstances, we can observe anomalies. In Snooker, played on a perfectly flat table, small imperfections or dirt on the ball, or in the playing surface can affect the direction of the ball and the outcome of the game. Similarly in Golf, even with a perfect putting stroke, slight anomalies in a green can change the game, and if allowed to affect the players confidence then also the match, or even the players whole season.

The lesson is this –
Stop trying to take away good form because of an occasional performance that you are not happy with. If there is something wrong, you will be the first to have your coach questioning it. If he / she doesn’t, then show courage and stop doubting.

As doubt may indeed be the biggest problem for you.

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