A True Champion…
Sunday evening I sat down after my run, I was absolutely exhausted. After a cool shower I put my feet up and watched the Jessica Ennis documentary that aired on the BBC. The short program only lasted 30 minutes but I learned an awful lot. I want to share my interpretation of those lessons with you in this short post.
The Most Challenging Job on the planet…
It must be one of the most demanding endeavours in the world, training for the Olympic games. 4 years of gruelling training (and that’s not including all the years leading up to that!). To become a world class athlete you have to be selfish, you have to fully commited to an intensive training schedule and do everything possible to gain an advantage over your competition.
It appears to be impossible to lead a normal life. Eating what you want, going out and getting drunk, and late lie-ins all come at the expense of diminished performance. You could argue that every second of everyday matters and what truly separates the best from the pack are the small gains that come from the pedantic, daily rituals.
What I Learned from Jessica Ennis…
There were many lessons learned during my experience of watching the documentary, and subsequently many thoughts and reflections afterwards. Here’s some of my discoveries:
In 2008 Jessica Ennis had to pull out of the Beijing Olympics due to injury. Put yourself in Jess’s shoes; training your whole life, investing tens of thousands of hrs practicing to then pick up an injury. Imagine being ruled out of the competition which you’ve dreamed of participating in all your life?
Personally I can’t begin to envisage how that must feel, it’s got to be one of the toughest things to deal with. However, did this stop Jessica Ennis moving forward? Absolutely not, she bounced back and picked up a gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics.
In the documentary it shows us a glimpse of the training involved. It appears far from glamorous, basically… just repetition after repetition, day in day out. It’s easy to watch the Olympics every 4 years and be impressed, and think “wow I wish I was like them!”, however in reality we only see the tip of the ice berg. You don’t see the cold, early mornings, hrs spent in the gym, injuries, fatigue, and all the sacrifices made regarding food and social occasions. All we see is the final polished product.
World class Coaching
I loved watching Jessica’s relationship with her coach. As a coach myself I learned a lot from watching him in action. What struck me more was his people skills, the perfect blend of likability and authority. It also made me realise that behind every great person is a great mentor. Investing in good coaching is a must regardless of the endeavour. Learn from someone with experience, who’s been there and can guide you along the bumpy road.
We’re Only human
It can be easy to view these athletes we look up to as God like figures, who are perfect and never have a bad day in their life. This is far from the truth and one thing the documentary reinforced is that every single one of us go through struggles and setbacks.
What separates the true winners in life are those who keep persisting and do not give up striving towards their dreams. It’s perfectly normal to feel down in the dumps, to be fearful, scared, frustrated and like wise emotions. There comes a point however when you have to move on. It’s clear that Jess has had her fair share of ups and downs but what’s clearer is that she has blossomed into a true champion and one who I greatly admire.