1. You have to take up the challenge as if victory was certain
Going into a hurling or football match expecting to be beaten will pretty much result in defeat every single time. Going into a tackle as if you are not going to win the ball will result in not winning the ball and possibly injury. Take up the challenges in your life as if you mean them! Do things with 100% of your capacity and enjoy the challenges that come up along the way. From cleaning the toilet to acing your driving test, strength and integrity will come with a full application to the task at hand.
2. We don’t always win.
As with other things in life, we don’t always come out on top. The main thing is that you gave it your all, maintained your integrity, and that you dust your self down, and pull on the jersey with as much intent as you did the first time. Persistence and perseverance are what will make you strong. Think of the Clare hurling team of the mid 90’s. Forever being beaten and failing to win an All Ireland for 81 years, until claiming the ultimate title in 1995. Now that’s persistence!
3. You are never down and out.
Limerick fans will attest to this one, as they still feel the pain of being on course to bring home Liam McCarthy in 1994 for the first time since 1973 until Offally stepped up and scored 2 goals and 5 points in the last five minutes of play to win 3-16 to 2-13. No matter how low the chips are, or how bad the situation is, there is always a solution. Having faith that there are better times ahead and reaching out to friends and family are great starting point when the situation looks bleak. Often the solution can be literally just around the corner. On the other side of the coin, imagine the elation of the Limerick team cruising towards victory, only to have it snatched away at the last moment. C’est la vie.
4. If you fail to prepare, then you are preparing to fail.
There is a reason that we have a ‘preseason’ before the matches kick off. It is time to prepare the mind and the body for what’s ahead. If you decide to turn up to a championship match without the pre-requisite blood, sweat, tears, and hours of pucking the ball against the wall, chaos and disappointment will ensue. The same applies to life situations. If you want to get somewhere, then prepare for what’s ahead. Interviews, meetings, and projects all require adequate preparation. Hell, if you are busy and want to eat well on the go, that even required an element of prep! I once heard a great quote that advised if you have an hour to chop down a tree, its better to spend the first 50 minutes sharpening the axe and the last 10 minutes felling the tree than struggling along with a blunt axe for 60 minutes! Amen to that.
5. The harder you work, the better you get.
You know this yourself anyway. The more time you spend practicing your skills and working on the first touch, the easier it seems to be to perform well on the field. Deep practice will bring results that may seem unfathomable to the player who tunrs up for 2 training sessions per week and mindlessly follows the instructions of the coach with hollow enthusiasm. Practice deep and practice often. One of the first ingredients you will require for success in hurling is time. Time to practice and learn the skills of the game. The same goes for things in life. The harder you study, the better your grades will be. The more rime you spend building quality furniture, the better you will be at building furniture, and so on.
The lessons in summary:
- Remember number 1 every time that number 2 happens.
- Remember number 3 before number 2 happens.
- Remember that if you do number 4, number 2 is less likely to happen.
- Remember that if you do number 4 and number 5, number 1 will be easy!
This Article is By Ainle Ó Cairealláin MSc CSCS
Ainle is Managing Director of ACLAÍ, Cork. In the past he has worked with the Cork Senior Football Team, Adelaide Crows Football Club in Australia, lectured in the University of Limerick PE and Sports Science Department, has contributed to the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, and also worked as a tutor with Strength and Conditioning Institute, Setanta College.
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