With the TV in our house permanently following the Olympics, I have enjoyed the highs and lows of the GB sports men and women as they push themselves to incredible limits, to achieve their goals.
We have heard them go to great lengths to thank their coaches for their hard work and dedication to help them to perform their very best. The time they have put in to training before the Olympics has been the toughest part for most of them, hours and hours of cold dark early mornings making sure that they get the right amount of strength, conditioning, specific skills and rest, plus prepare mentally for the challenges ahead.
These athletes seem to have a mental toughness in common, an ability to focus on what they want, often at a very early age, then go and get it, like Laura Trott pictured with Bradley Wiggins. The other thing they have in common is that they need someone ( or a team) of people to support them. In some sports, cycling perhaps, those that they compete against are also their friends, meaning that their ability to focus on their performance is vital. Their coach becomes their second family in many cases, the patience, knowledge and skill of the coaches brings out the incredible talents their athletes have.
So what does this have to do with you, me or us mere mortals who can only ever dream of such achievements. Well we are in fact very similar.
Take running, because it is what we do.
You have an idea, see a poster, read an article, and think, " Yes, I'd like to do that". This is the first step to reaching your goal, acting on it and joining a club is the next step. Turning up the first time to SLJ or any other club I suspect, is quite scary, especially for those of us who would not normally think of ourselves as 'sporty types', so once again it takes determination to push yourself out of the door.
As coaches, our role is to welcome you, encourage you, motivate you in exactly the same way at those coaches who look after our Olympic athletes. Not everyone likes the same style of coaching, some of our members like to be pushed and to feel like they are always slightly out of their comfort zone, and many, like a gentler approach with improvements coming gradually and consistently. It's not unusual to enjoy different styles of coaching for different disciplines, give me a gentle understanding cycle coach any day but I can be pushed a bit harder when it comes to running!
So you see, what ever level of fitness we are at, we can all benefit from the support that being in a club,like SLJ provides. Our coaches have years of experience under their belts, and they update their knowledge & skills on a regular basis to make sure that you get the safest, most effect training, relevant to your ability, goals and lifestyle. However the camaraderie and support that our members give each other is as important, that post run coffee and chat, the cheering on at the end of a run and the fact that this person whom you may not see at all except when running, truly understands how you feel as you near the top of that dreadful hill!
The UK is enjoying the medal tally at the moment and it feels as if the mood has lifted, especially since the Brexit events of a few weeks back and I hope that this mood will carry over into the Autumn months. If it's been a while since you enjoyed an SLJ run, walk or class, do come back because whist we may not be Olympic athletes or coaches we do still have a good time trying! Plus you never know, you might be the one inspiring someone from the next generation to be a future Olympian!