New Year New Mindset

It feels forever since I’ve written a new post and you all probably believe I’ve decided to give it up. Well, that’s not the case. I’m back.

The last few months have been rather tough mentally and for that reason I decided to have a break from writing my blog. This freed up quite a chunk of time that I needed to use to focus on issues of greater importance, for example, job applications. However, having recently secured some work experience in environmental consulting, I figured I had some time available to indulge in some personal reflection.

Although the featured image may not look like much, I spent a lot of time considering what photo to use for this post. You probably think that the photo is fairly boring, but if you picture me walking across the image from left to right, it couldn’t portray the story of my life in the past few months any better.

The tail end of last year was pretty depressing. I came to the realisation that I had gone through a year of training and had nothing to show for it. With no new personal best to brag about, I felt somewhat deflated and had a very strong sense of under achievement. This vicious concoction only strengthened in its potency when numerous failed attempts of getting a job, after hours of laborious applications, are added to the mix. Consequently, this caused me to lose a great deal of motivation and focus towards javelin training.

I remember wondering if the honeymoon period of the event had expired and from now on it was going to be an upward struggle through the wet muddy ground that winter brings about in the fields, concentrating on just moving forward, one step at a time, without getting stuck in the mud and losing a welly.

I’ve always understood the kind of mindset champions and winners possess: they enjoy what they do, they wake every morning and eagerly anticipate the day ahead; they possess an optimistic and positive mindset towards everything they do. I’ve always strongly believed that if you have the drive, ambition and obsessive nature to be the best, you will overcome the odds against you.

However, one evening  whilst driving home from training, I realised I had lost that mindset. I couldn’t see the future for my javelin and I certainly had lost my motivation to push myself. Then my coach, David Parker, even if inadvertently, came to save the day. Thanks to one of his incredible Javelin Throw Masterclasses in December, I was suddenly sitting in a room surrounded by some of the legends of javelin. Listening to their experiences and messages that they believed would have been helpful to know when they were at the beginning of their successful careers.

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Dave Turner, David Parker, Tom Pukstys, Goldie Sayers, Mick Hill, Nick Nieland, Mark Roberson and Steve Backley at the Javelin Throw ‘Masterclass’ Training Camp.

The most surreal moment was when the man who inspired me to start javelin in the first place, Steve Backley,  watched me throw and offered advice on my technique. It is definitely the best memory so far in my short javelin career and just writing about it now re-creates the sense of awe and immense nervous-excitement I had being in his presence.

That was it! David had re-ignited the flame that had become dormant of recent and is now fiercely ablaze again. My enthusiasm and motivation towards javelin is just as strong as it has ever been and suddenly I have the belief that maybe I can still make something of all the hours spent training and travelling up to Loughborough. The pain in my side, from my previous injury, seems to be starting to ease and I feel like I’ve turned a corner in my technique. I’ve started to attack my run up with a lot more aggression and have begun to trust that my body will withstand the forces rather than fail and break.

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I’m again looking forward to training, to the extent that I’m struggling to get to sleep the night before I have a throwing session, because I’m eagerly anticipating the day to come, as if it’s Christmas Eve. Usually I end up having to promise myself that I will only imagine throwing one last awesome throw in my mind before I finally shut down for the night and get some needed rest. But routinely I disobey my own stern talking to and surreptitiously imagine another two or even three throws.

Just like after winter, spring has arrived. The ground has begun to dry and harden, the grass has started to grow, the days are getting longer and my feet aren’t sinking in the ground. There’s less resistance and at the moment there’s nothing that can stop my momentum.

I’ve come to realise that all athletes will go through hardships and that the journey to becoming a winner isn’t all plain sailing. It’s those who can persist through the trivial times and not give up, who are the champions. Eventually there will be a moment that will spark your enthusiasm again and suddenly you’ll transcend your previous ambitions, stronger and tougher than ever before.

May be the title of this post is incorrect and it should have been ‘New year, restored mindset’, but the key point to take away from this post is that I have found my mojo again and the Supple Leopard is back, ready to take on the new year with arms open wide.

Bring it on.

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