When it comes to athletic success, focus is predominantly placed on physical fitness and nutrition for the majority of the time, but the force which makes us determined to succeed and push ourselves to the physical limit is our innate competitive streak. It has served the human race very well so far advancing our technology, sporting ability and lifestyle at a rapid rate, but if you do not introduce it into training on a regular basis, competition can become the bad guy and hinder your physical performance when it matters most.
Competition promotes growth. One of the best things you can do for yourself is find yourself a rival. Having someone on par or better than you at your sport will encourage you to take chances, learn more and physically push yourself harder to increase your performance. Physically witnessing someone else achieve something you are striving towards makes it more possible in your mind which helps you progress towards your goal at a heightened pace. Without a competitive streak, some of the most amazing sporting achievements witnessed during our lifetime may not have happened. It wasn’t long ago that the 10s 100m sprint barrier was first broken and this year, if you didn’t run 100m in under 10s you wouldn’t even make the final 8 sprinters!
Competition advances sport. When competition is fierce it forces us to take a chance on trying something new which adapts sport and allows it to reach completely new levels. Prior to 1968, the high jump was performed with a hitch kick over the bar. Jump heights were beginning to reach a plateau and competition was very close between athletes. Then a man named Richard Fosbury came along and threw himself backwards over the bar. His technique ‘the fosbury flop’ made a drastic impact on the heights athletes were able to jump and today it is the technique used by every Olympic athlete.
Make the most of your competitive streak by introducing a training partner, goal setting and/or creative training adaptations (such as video footage) to take your physiological performance, mental strength and readiness for competition to the next level.
If you are looking for ways to stay motivated over the festive period or you are planning on committing to a fitness improving lifestyle adjustment in 2013, keep your eyes peeled this weekend for our article on the best ways to keep yourself motivated to train!