It is only a matter for time before it happens to an athlete. That dreaded "season" where it seems that we can do nothing right, in training or competition. Why can't we just go back to the other "season" where everything was seemingly so simple and just fell into place? When our training felt effortless and things just "clicked" in competition.
As athletes we have all experienced both of the scenarios expressed above. We would all agree that we would rather settle for longer periods of time in the latter season where things are flowing along. The problem is we cannot stay there forever. Eventually we must come out of that season and experience the rough season where everything seems like a chore and we begin to ask ourselves some hard questions...or so we should.
The lows will come. I cannot type this and tell you that you will not experience them. It is what we do when placed in those low spots that determines our success and ability to achieve our goals however. When in the rough spots, do you ask yourself some hard questions? I feel that there is a negative connotation if you do begin to question why you put yourself through the training and make the sacrifices you do to be an athlete.
In my opinion asking these questions is not harmful at all. As a matter of fact I feel that it is what will help bring you our of the valley you are in sooner. The quote says when in a hole we must stop digging. That is priority number one. In order to do that we must do some assessment. The quickest was to assess our current situation is to ask some questions.
Circumstances and life is ever-changing. This is true even for the professional athlete that has a pretty solid routine in place. No two days in our lives are ever the same. I believe this is a good thing, I provides the spice of life! It also believe it provides the springboard for champions. Those athletes that can adapt to all that life will throw at them will find success.
At times we will feel as though we were simply thrown into the lion's den for no particular reason. Things were going well and all of a sudden they aren't. We weren't actively digging ourselves a hole. However, in these moments I have seen many athletes pick up a shovel and continue digging! e have a choice to not pick a shovel up at all in these moments and focus strictly on solutions and ways to deal with the situation in the most effective way.
Other times there was some input on our part that led us into the hole. We had our shovels in hand and began to dig. This scenario would play out a bit differently than the one above because here we must first take the shovel out of our hands before we can begin working on the way back to level ground. As we put down the shovel we must ask ourselves why we picked it up in the first place.
What was the catalyst? Ultimately we want to put the shovel down, but not without answering why we picked it up in the first place. This will allow us to possibly avoid making the same mistake later on. If nothing else it will educate us on when we are most prone to reach for the shovel, and that information is invaluable.
Putting down the shovel as quickly as possible is of utmost importance. It will not happen however until we realize that we are in a hole in the first place. As we train our minds to be more aware, we can ultimately get to the place where we can pick up a shovel but no even break ground! We can stop our minds from telling our body to take the next step, which would be to begin digging. Let's work towards that end, so we can enjoy as much time in the sun as possible!