What is your favorite part about your sport of choice? What is the thing you enjoy doing most? All of us have those: the things about sport that bring us the most joy. As such, it makes sense that we also have the opposite of that: the things about sport that we dislike and do not bring us joy.
Chances are that the things that you do not enjoy about sport are also the things that you could use the most improvement on. I’ve seen it time and time again over the years: an athlete will tell me that they don’t like doing something, and in reality, they do not like doing it because they feel like they cannot do it well. It’s totally understandable; we enjoy the feeling of doing something with confidence and ease, and we do not like it when we feel that we are struggling through someone or unable to do it well.
In order to reach our very best and to achieve the goals we set for ourselves, we need to put in the work. This means that we need to maintain and develop our areas of strength, but it also means that we need to identify, acknowledge, accept, and work on the things that we are not so great at.
I always seek to find the “weakest link” that an athlete has. If we can find that weakest link, we can work on transforming it from a weaker link into a stronger one. While it may seem negative to actively seek out weak areas, it’s actually very positive. Ultimately (and sometimes without even actively realizing it), athletes want to become stronger and more confident. Lack of confidence and feelings of weakness occur surrounding the skills or disciplines that athletes are not as proficient at. As such, it makes sense to face these areas head-on and without reservation. We want to be the best, most confident, and most proficient athletes we can be!
I’ve written in the past about how focusing on fundamentals is a good thing. Very often, fundamentals are weak areas for athletes. If fundamentals are weak areas, then that sets the stage for a weaker foundations, which leads to more weak links in the athlete’s “chain.” Even if an athlete is pretty proficient at the fundamentals of their sport, focusing on them helps set the stage for all other gains, so working on the “basics” can help support weaker links in the athlete’s chain. But if fundamentals are an area where an athlete struggles, a return to focus in these areas can definitely help improve an athlete’s confidence and performance.
Great athletes are always working on their weakest link. Working on strengthening the weakest link means that they have an overall stronger “chain” that enables them to make progress toward the goals that they set for themselves. I challenge you to seek out and develop YOUR weakest link so you can be the best you can be!
Coach Laura Henry
Laura Henry is a Syracuse, NY-based coach who is a USA Triathlon Level II Long Course and Level II Paratriathlon Certified Coach, USA Cycling Level 2 Certified Coach, VFS Certified Bike Fitter, and has successfully completed NASM's Certified Personal Trainer course. Coach Laura is passionate about helping athletes of all ability levels reach their goals and has coached many athletes to success.