Are you driven or obsessed?

February 17th 2020

By Matt Hill
Categories: Athlete Resources

Are you driven or obsessed?

Podcast on BBC Radio 4 Don´t Tell Me The Score with Jonny Wilkinson: Obsession

Being dedicated is something you all are – we know you are all doing your best to manage life so that you can train consistently and progress with your goals. Be wary though, dedication can easily become obsession and tip you and your body over the edge!

Becoming obsessed is easily done and is largely attributed to how you view your past, present and future. Your mindset at any given moment will influence how you review your past training/races, what you do in the now (focusing on the training/racing at hand) and hoping for the best conditions or chasing outcomes.

Jonny Wilkinson, ex England rugby star, explains what he went through in his career and in hindsight, how he would have done things differently.

Key points:

  • Pressure is from future imagination. As mentioned above, hoping for best conditions on race day or focusing on outcomes (focus on processes, not data/pace/power, etc (outcomes))
  • Living in the now – focus on what you are doing now, not what you did before or what you hope to do
  • Review your past matches (races). Think back, were you really engaged with the processes at the time and can you recall how it all felt – the good and the bad? Learn from these events and add it to your skills for adapting next time
  • Get into the same state in training so you “know” what effort, climbs, currents, etc feel like and you can judge how to react and manage the now in racing
  • Look within yourself for happiness – chasing success and gaining success doesn’t result in true happiness. Remind yourself of who you are and what you wanted from the sport (life) – being amateur triathletes you do it for fun, stress relief, fitness, wellbeing. Not for pressure, stress and fame.
  • Any stress (work, family, operations) added to other stress leads to illness, injury and drops in performance
  • If you are unwell with a simple cold or niggle, slow down / stop training for a short time (as we always tell you). If you push through things can become MUCH worse in the long run.
  • Don’t let your mind / ego / demons tell your body to train and push on if your body is not wanting it
  • The past changes based on our moods now. What was bad seems positive (learning opportunities), what we thought was good we can realise to be detrimental (extra training load). Be objective and look for learning points in all past events, to strengthen your confidence now and adapt in the future
  • You can’t control what others think of you – if you do things differently that work for you, good (most of the training method Masters of Tri uses is different)!
  • Be yourself! Be selfish and do what’s right for you, not what you think others want you to be.
  • You can’t control the events of match (race) day.
    • Hoping for the best leads to disappointment, fear and a stressed body. Prepare for the worst that could happen (rough swim, punctures, etc), accept them if they happen and adapt on the fly – you won’t be surprised if the worst happens and you’ll be pleasantly rewarded if they don’t happen.

Similar message as other podcasts/interviewees, but this time from a different sport.

Control what you can, adapt to what you can’t and be objective – so you don’t become emotionally obsessive!