6 Tips from Olympic THINKING

By Jim on Tuesday, May 18, 2010

When I first started my dream of paddling it was to go to the Olympics and nothing else.

I was lucky that I was able to surround myself with quality athletes, some Olympians and Top Ironman. The things I learn’t from them were so valuable.

Learning from people who are at the top of their game is the best tips you can ever get.

For me I started my training with three of the best Steve Wood Olympic kayaking Bronze medalist, Mick Porra champion life saver and Guy Leech iron man champion what they all taught me was in the end very special as they all had great quality’s that they passed onto me.

All the time they possessed the same quality that took me some time to pick up on.


No matter what was thrown in front of them, they always found a quality to bounce back from. When you get ideas from people like this you can only improve like I did.
Here are 6 tips you can try.

Newswise — Olympic athletes inspire us with their fierce discipline and natural talent as they smash records, going higher, further and faster. Their can-do spirit encourages us all to take on new challenges. Whether your goal is to complete your first 20 beaches, improve your technique or compete in a flat water kayak competition, there are lessons to be learned from the best of the best.
“The Olympics symbolize the chance for all of us to push the boundaries of human potential,” said Chris Sebelski, assistant professor of physical therapy at Saint Louis University. “As I tell my students, if you want to compete at a high level, mimic the strategies of those at the top.”

  1. Set a Goal and Break it Down - Olympic-level athletes train for their next gold medal as a part of a four-year process. After setting a goal to medal or set a world record, athletes and their coaches will break the process down into tasks and time periods with smaller goals that mark progress along the way, Sebelski says.  For instance, if you’re training to get in shape for 20 beaches, Dubai or Molokai, you might aim to paddle 7-10kms day for the first two weeks and build up to 20kms a day by the end of ten weeks. Break it down, and you’ll find that a goal that seems unreachable is obtainable.
  2. Cross-train - Olympians may be unrivaled within their skill-set, but they use other skills along the way. Cross-training reduces risks of overtraining and helps avoid injury. It also enhances muscle performance and stimulates the mind so you don’t become bored by too much repetition.
    Cross-training is also useful to prepare for sports you can’t practice every day. If you’re planning a paddling vacation and your goal is to graduate from beginner  to Intermediate , don’t be discouraged because you live far from the water. In the months before the big trip, prepare by going to the gym, focusing on lower extremity strength training, balance activities and cardio workouts, like the elliptical machine. All of these activities will help you get the most from your paddling trip.
  3. Workout with Others - Olympic athletes don’t train alone and they don’t train only with those at the same skill level. paddling with those who are of higher ability to help push you along. Also lower ability helps you take the time to work on your technique.
    Not only will you find that the spirit of competition and encouragement will keep your motivation high, but there are also training benefits to working out with others who compete at different levels.
    If you’re a paddler, mix it up and paddle with different people. Partner with someone slower than your normal pace, and on that day, you’ll stay out longer and practice endurance. Another day, paddle with someone faster than your average pace and experience a more intense cardio workout.
  4. Create a Team - Olympic athletes are under no illusions that they can do it on their own, and you shouldn’t be either.
    “While we’re enamored by the idea of an Olympic athlete as a hero, we forget that that person is standing on shoulders of so many other people. It takes a village to put one Olympian in front of the world,” said Sebelski. “We shouldn’t forget that we need those resources, too.”
    Think about the people who can help you accomplish your goal. You might find that you’ll benefit from working with a trainer, a nutritionist, a physical therapist or a physician. Recognize that help is available in all different forms and find what works best for you. It might be a face-to-face session with a trainer, a nutrition class, or an online chat room of like-minded people.
  5. Find your Motivation - You may feel silly rocking out to your Ipod at the gym, but remember how gold medalist Michael Phelps made music a part of his mental preparation, psyching up with Lil’ Wayne before he hit the water.
    Take a page from Phelps’ playbook and embrace your inspiration. You can feed your passion by finding the method that motivates you most, whether it’s music, visualizing success or a pep talk from your coach.
  6. Put on an Olympic Attitude - For most of us, our jobs, families and personal commitments mean we can’t devote as many waking hours to training as a world champion might. But you can adopt the mentality of an Olympian during the time you set aside for training, approaching that hour with the single-minded focus of a full-time athlete. The results will be encouraging, Sebelski says.
    “Train for a couple of weeks with focus and discipline, and lo and behold, you’ll be surprised by what you can do,” Sebelski said.
    Sebelski says that the sense of accomplishment and pride that comes from striving to improve upon your personal best is something everyone can experience.
    “It’s been said that running a marathon is now everyman’s Everest. But that’s true for every sport,” Sebelski said. “You can train for the Sunday club paddling, if that’s your passion. The Sunday paddle may be your Olympics.
    “Regardless of the scale of your goal, you should have the experience, at least once, of training for and accomplishing a physical goal you set for yourself. Crossing that finish line is a feeling unlike any other.”

I know the day I reached my goal I couldn't have been happier. So chase your goal and enjoy the challenge and feel the reward of self accomplishment.

Six Things We Can Learn From Olympians
Released: 2/5/2010 3:45 PM EST
Source: Saint Louis University Medical Center