Jan 29, 2015
To Be the Best

By Vern Gambetta

The process of getting to be the best is not a straightforward, linear path. It is a process, and it takes time. In my 44 years of coaching, I have seen many athletes who are called to walk the path, but few actually choose to. Yes, you read that correctly: Many are called but few choose. The opportunity is there for many, but few will make the choice because it is a difficult path that requires moving out of their Comfort Zone.

At each step of development, there are clear-cut choices that must be made. Some of the choices are conscious, like doing something different in training. Others are subtle and almost unconscious, like pushing through a pain barrier or finishing a workout that seems too hard. You must be guided by clear, SMART goals that help get you to your destination. SMART goals are:

S = Specific M = Measurable A = Attainable R = Realistic T = Time

The goal is where you want to go, where you want to end up. It is the beacon of light that guides you. Most athletes start in the Comfort Zone and stay there. They are good at their sport and satisfied with where they are. They make easy choices; they never go the extra mile. They do only what is expected, never more. Athletes in this zone take no risks; there are no champions here. If you aspire to be a peak performer, then you will quickly have to move out of your Comfort Zone to the Performance Zone, or you will never achieve your goals.

Vern Gambetta-120x180.jpgIf you are intrigued by the thoughts of veteran conditioning coach Vern Gambetta, you will want a copy of his exciting new book, Following the Functional Path: Building and Rebuilding the Athlete.

Athletes in the Performance Zone have a greater commitment. They take some risks, and they will go the extra mile when necessary. They occasionally are uncomfortable. They usually win as much as they lose.

From the Performance Zone, the next step is the High Performance Zone. As the athlete chooses to do what is necessary to move up, there will be less people in the higher zones. The athletes in this zone are willing to risk and get very uncomfortable. In fact, they are uncomfortable more than they are comfortable, and they win more than they lose. They will always go the extra mile.

The pinnacle, the Peak Performance Zone, is where the champions live, train, and play. This is a special place. It is as far from the comfort zone as you could imagine. Athletes here are the best of the best, and they are comfortable with being uncomfortable because they know what it takes to be the best. In fact, they are uncomfortable all the time, and they make others uncomfortable with their intensity and drive. The path is clear; you must do the work daily with ICE – Intensity, Concentration and Effort. You must win the workouts if you expect to win the competition.

Make the choice to be the best. Set your goals and start acting on those goals now. Be comfortable with being uncomfortable all the time.

Vern Gambetta, MA, is President of Gambetta Sports Training Systems in Sarasota, Fla. The former Director of Conditioning for the Chicago White Sox, he has also worked extensively with basketball, soccer, and track and field athletes. He is a frequent contributor to Training & Conditioning. Vern also maintains his own blog.

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