Success in sports can be put down to many variables. Genetics. Luck. Hard work. Perseverance. Determination. Good coaches. Supportive parents. More. Whilst we can’t control everything, if you want to succeed in sports or even anything else not related to sport, you need to create an environment designed to help your development towards your goal. This post focuses around controlling what you can to get the results you want.
Create An Environment To Fuel Success In Sports
The term environment refers to your surroundings. There are a few big key factors when it comes to creating an environment to fuel success in sports.
- Support from parents
The importance of sleep cannot be overstated. It’s when the human body quite literally goes into repair mode and is healing damaged tissue, making your muscles stronger and physiological adaptations are occurring in response to exercise.
Most people require anywhere from 7 – 9 hours of sleep per night. Athletes may require or even just recover and perform better with more sleep. If possible, it’s best to sleep and wake without the need for an alarm. However, for most this isn’t possible due to needing to wake up early and make sure you get to work on time.
For this reason, I suggest figuring out when you need to wake up and back-calculating when you need to go to sleep to get a solid 7 – 9 hours of sleep a night.
A lack of sleep may increase sympathetic nervous system activity. That makes it harder for your body to go into a parasympathetic (rest) state where it can recover more efficiently.
As I research diet more and more I’m coming to the conclusion that there is a lot of variation in what the optimal diet is for any single individual. Some may prefer a vegetarian diet whilst others may prefer a ketogenic or perhaps a high carb diet.
Whatever diet or way of eating you follow, here is what I think you should focus on:
- Sufficient protein (I suggest 2g/kg bodyweight minimum)
- Whole foods e.g. meat, fish, vegetables
- Consuming enough calories unless your sport demands it e.g. trying to make a specific weight class in boxing (not too few or too many)
- Eating foods you enjoy in a sustainable manner
- Obtaining enough micronutrients such as minerals and vitamins from foods or taking a supplement if needed
Coaches are so important if you want to achieve success in sports. They’re the ones who will give you feedback, advise your training and keep an eye on your progress. If you don’t feel like a coach cares about you as an individual, then you should probably speak to them or move onto a new coach. I say this because some coaches care more about the performance of their athletes rather than the individuals themselves.
Find coaches you can work with and provide a supportive training environment. Ones who give you encouragement, feedback and it’s even better if you can train in a group environment where you can compete and work alongside your peers.
Support From Parents
When it comes to sporting success, especially as a child or teenager, support from parents is critical for success. The support you get from your parents can shape so much about your mindset towards sports.
Some parents may see it as a waste of time (and that children should instead focus on studies) whilst others will push (and may even overpush) their children to succeed. Striking a balance somewhere in the middle is usually ideal, and having that support and love from your parents will help you to excel in whatever sport you choose to take part in.
If you’re are a parent to a child taking part in sports there are some simple things you can do to show that you care about their performance in sport such as:
- Asking how their training was
- Helping or advising them to eat healthily
- Encouraging them to get enough sleep
- Offering to drive them to and collect them from training
- Watching them compete at competitions
- Praising them for good performances
- Cheering them up after performances where they feel a bit down
Sport is both physical and mental. You need the right mindset to push through the physical pain, and perhaps even surpass the limits of what you thought you weren’t capable of doing.
Changing mindset can be difficult, but if you try to do so over a long period of time you can find success. Simple things such as viewing things positively instead of negatively. Looking at competitions as a chance to prove your worth rather than seeing it as a chance for something to go wrong.
For instance, some training sessions can be brutal and both mentally and physically tiring. Some athletes will view that as a challenge and embrace it choosing to push through the pain and finish off the session to the best of their ability no matter how much they’re hurting. Others will maybe drop out, skip a few reps and jump back in.
I’m not saying the second option is wrong. It might be right depending on your fitness level and circumstances, but your mindset is paramount when it comes to success in sports. Do you do the extra work because you feel forced to? Or do you do it because you want to?
Thanks for reading, if you found this post informative I’d greatly appreciate it if you could share it with other runners and athletes!