As a kid I dreamt of being a professional ski racer. Traveling the world, racing in the Alps and only having to worry about skiing seemed pretty ideal to me. My sister, Julia, has succeeded at being a professional skier and now every day she races with the best of the best. I went out to watch her race in a World Cup in Lake Louise Canada earlier this year and little did I know there is way more to being a professional athlete than the glamorous lifestyle I envisioned.
This World Cup series was a challenge for Julia, she struggled to ski fast and she was searching for answers. It got me thinking about what it takes to be a professional athlete. What makes the pros so much better at a sport than others? After spending time with Julia, watching her race, helping her analyze her performance and creating a plan on how to improve, I decided among many others, there are four things that professional athletes do to make them great.
- Passion – They have a passion to work hard every day and a drive that pushes them to focus on their sport day in and day out.
- Planning and Analysis –Professional athletes plan their training schedule months in advance. They strategically pick their rest days and train to peak during certain races or events. After every race, they analyze their run and find areas they can improve upon.
- Patience – It takes time and a lot of effort to succeed. Most professional athletes have patience and gradually work their way up the ladder of success. They have to overcome the setbacks and the pressures of competition. It does not happen over night. Professional athletes are fighters, enduring the ups and downs with patience and always refusing to give up.
- Perseverance – They overcome their obstacles and continue through the challenges and low-points of their career. When competition gets really hard, they do not give up, they work harder, train longer and preserve.
A professional athlete works full-time at becoming the best at his or her sport. The tactics and strategies necessary for professional athletes can also apply to people trying to live a healthy balanced lifestyle. In order to maintain a fitness routine and eat well it’s important to have a passion to lead this lifestyle. It’s a conscience effort to change your behavior. Everyday is not going to be perfect; there will be times when you don’t want to get out of bed to work out, or you eat a nacho for dinner instead of a salad. As long as you never give up, persevere and remember the next meal can be better you will be able to make a change in your life. I know that not giving up is really hard, but if you plan and analyze your schedule and your day to accommodate your workout and balanced meals, you will decrease your chance of slipping up. Pack your lunch the night before, organize your breakfast before bed, and portion out snacks so you don’t over indulge. It’s not easy, I still work on eating better and staying in shape every day. Changing your lifestyle takes patience and does not happen overnight; just like professional athletes you need to work hard, train hard and focus on the end goal. If you do all that, hopefully on day it will all pay off!
Photos courtesy of Mattie & Julia Ford