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How to change habits: part 1
“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.”
Aristotle’s quote is often used, but it is hard to follow. When working with athletes, it is often the intangibles that make the difference to the overall outcome of the training programme.
I often see young coaches or academics popping out and inflicting paper programmes on athletes and saying “I have shown them, now they have to do it“.
Unfortunately (or fortunately) athletes are human beings, not artificial constructs.
We must therefore coach the person first and then the programme second.
Athlete’s do not operate in a vacuum
In order to make gains in training we know that not only must the athlete work, they need to rest and recover. The two things I never assume that an athlete does well are:
Just saying, “eat healthy food” and “get 8 hours sleep a night” does not recognise that behaviour needs to change, and that comes from habits.
Very few people think that 5 hours sleep a night and eating crisps and chocolate are the way to become an Olympian.
Some education is necessary:
Mostly though, it is getting the athlete to incorporate healthy behaviours and habits into their lifestyle.
Working on the intangibles
Changing behaviour is not easy. Education is one part of it, but people need help doing this. It might involve changing the culture of the team/ club or the home environment too.
Part 2 of this blog will look at Goal setting and how to get started,
Part 3 will look at some useful tools on how to help you maintain your good habits.
James has been my strength and conditioning coach since June 2009 and during this time he has provided me with constant support and helped me develop as an athlete, from Under 17 international level to senior international. He is currently helping me with my transition from fencer to Modern Pentathlete.
05 May 2018
Level 1 Strength and Conditioning Course – Oxford
Venue: Carterton Community College, Upavon Way, Carterton. OX18 1BU
Assessment Day: Sunday 3 June 2018
Cost: £280 including materials and access to online resources. To book send a deposit of £100 here.