The importance of finding your OWN identity as an athlete

Ju Jitsu WC Malmö, Williams final, -85 KG (picture: athlete analyzer)

"There are many roads which lead to Rome" as the old saying says. Well, there are probably even more roads to victory, as we have many different winners every tournament and every Championships! This is something very inspirational and motivating for many athletes and coaches, since we as humans/ athletes are always interested in "The key to succes", and what that may be.

I think we all can agree on that the pillars of succes are: DEDICATION, HARD WORK and TEAM, without persistance, hard work, lazer focus and a great team around you, it is hard to achieve succes in sports or in life. Some will say that you need a little luck as well sometimes. Probably true, but I would like to quote a World Famous Swedish Skier Ingemar Stenmark.

When he was asked if he felt that he was lucky today, after winning a race with very small margin. He said: "I do not know so much about luck, the only thing I know is, that the more I train, the more luck I have".

I think that it is very important as an athlete to have a good mix of:

External motivation and influence: This could be video´s from techniques, matches, training exercises from other athletes or other sports. When you have anylised what your strength´s and weaknesses are, then you can find help and inspiration from trainers and training partners. The bigger variation of training partners you work with the more ways you will find to improve your game.

Internal drive and focus: When you know what your goals are, and most of all HOW you are going to get there. It is much easier to put in the daily work and tackle setbacks along the way.

Besides this, I think it is very important to know 2 things about yourself as an athlete and person:

1- What are my most effective learning methods?

We have 7 ways to learn things, and we all have our favourite ways within these 7:

Some of them which are much related to Martial Arts are:

Visual:You prefer using pictures, images and demonstrations of the techniques. (Seeing)

Verbal: You prefer using words, both in speech and writing. (Reading/ Hearing)

Physical: You prefer using your body, hands and sense of touch. (Feeling/ Doing)

This is very important information for you as an athlete, but of course also for your coach!

2- What are my most important drives in life and sports?

You need to know WHY your career as an athlete is important to you. WHAT you like the most about the trainings and competitions and HOW you need to develope/ be as an athlete to reach your goal!

When I started my career as a Ju Jitsu athlete, I just came from judo. When I got injured my coach told me that maybe ju jitsu was good for me for a while. It was softer for my elbow, and I could still be on the mat. After some tournaments I realy liked it and I got invited to the National Team. When I came on my first International Tournaments

There where a lot of opponents which had a much higher level of karate then me, and even some elite judo players. This was a direct eye opener for me. I knew very soon, that even I would put in double the hours that they did and try to fight as they did, I would never be able to catch up with them. I would always be behind them anyway. So I had to find another way to beat them.

I had to develope my OWN