Buddha once said, “Endurance is one of the most difficult disciplines, but it is to the one who endures that the final victory comes.” This quote directly applies to every athlete in the track and field program. Every day we are tested with difficult tasks and workouts that will establish our final results. When we cross the finish line or release the discus, we know that it the only way we could do it is by enduring all of the difficulties that we’ve had to go through leading up to the meet.
The theme for our team this year is “Make It Count.” Whether it is the final stretch of a race or team warm ups, the coaches remind us that everything we do is in preparation for a meet. There are some athletes that are on the team that give it their all, and there are others that are there for social aspects. It is very apparent to anyone watching a meet why the athlete is there. The people that work hard in practice are usually the ones who have the following qualities: they are first ones crossing the finish line, the ones that are setting goals and personal bests for themselves, and the ones who are pushing past their mental and physical boundaries. To be successful in track and field, it is vital that an athlete doesn’t ever let up.
Any kind of athlete needs to be strong, have balance, and be agile. Many people do not consider the arguably most important part of being an athlete: mental power. My mom always says, “Your body is so much stronger than you think it is.” When she tells me this, I believe that the task at hand is more than possible. I perform better because I begin to believe in myself. Many athletes struggle with the mental aspects of sports because they rely too much on the external. I am a distance runner, and mental strength is very important because all we have is our endurance. Kelsey Faschingbauer, my distance coach, knows the value of mental power, and she helps us get to a proper mental state by having the team listen to a visualization and hypnosis tape for running. The recording says repeats phrases such as, “The longer I run, the more I want to run,” and “I am a natural runner.” This is great for all of the runners, because after we listen to it, we feel relaxed and excited for our race the next day.
The beauty of track and field is that anyone who wants to be in the sport can be, and depending on their work ethic, they can do anything. When working at becoming a successful athlete, we always remember to never let ourselves give up, to focus, and to stay strong mentally. Track and field is a difficult sport, but I know it is worth it when the feeling of accomplishment overwhelms me as I cross the finish line.