Beginners Set PRs…

…and experienced athletes win.

Those are points of focus I remember from a Gary Winckler article.

The great difficulty of a carefully measured sport is the pressure put on competitors to, at once, be the best in their field of peers that day and the best in the world every day.

To win takes a lot of qualities. They all have to be present at the same time.

Winning requires careful, deliberate, systematic preparation.

pole vaulter setup

Winning requires an acute knowledge of your own fitness, your own strengths and weaknesses, of your opponents’ strengths and weaknesses, and the necessary tactics to be victorious over them.

pole vaulter preparing

Winning requires the ability to execute your strategy, to overcome your mistakes, and to make correctionsduring the competition

in order to maintain your edge.

pole vaulter running

Winning requires ego. You need the confidence to do all the things aboveandmake them look easy – because your grace disturbs your opponents’ focus.

pole vaulter swinging

Winning requires more than just a little good luck, as well. You never know who will show up to a meet. You never know what the conditions will be like. You just never know. So, to win requires all of the above, with room to spare, and a healthy dose of good luck.

To set a PR requires all of that as well, but a beginner, by nature, has a much larger margin for error. There is no margin for error for winning and there isn’t much more room to grow into new PRs as an elite athlete.

So, I agree with Gary. Beginners focus on PRs. It teaches them all of the qualities they need in order to advance as athletes, in order to approach their physical potential, and…with the right mix of those lessons…it allows them to win.

This is probably why, to the successful athlete, winning feels so easy. It’s what they’ve always done, but with a medal to celebrate it.

Focus on yourself. Train smart.

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