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Are you a man of action?

1 June 2010 2 Comments

How quickly are you able to convert directions/advice into action?

There are many common traits among successful athletes. One of these is definitely the ability to convert directions to actions, quickly and efficiently. During the past week one of my athletes told me of a sore calf, which was still tight two days after a long run. Not torn, just tight and making it’s presence felt. My advice to him was try Jiang, my accupuncturist (I’ve been using her and sending my athletes to her for 12yrs)

One hour later I had an e-mail from him telling me he had an appointment for 2pm the next day. Now that’s the type of action that gets results. No hesitation, no second opinions, a strong recommendation from someone he trusts, converted into action. This is why he’s a leader in his profession, and an athlete on the way up.

Another athlete missed Hawaii qualification by one spot in his recent Ironman race. He sent me a text message with the rolldown results. I answered, “Enter Honu Half”. In less than eight hours, I received another text, “Have entered Honu Half”. Tomorrow we fly to kona. This is action. Again, this guy runs a successful business and has a respectable portfolio of real estate investments. He acts when action is needed.

Another athlete, had raced two Iron distance races reducing his time significantly. He asked “What next?” I said “Enter Port IM. I reckon you can qualify for Hawaii”. In a couple of weeks we start his Hawaii Ironman build up. This guy has gone from a 90min+ swimmer to a 62min swimmer in 18 months. Whenever I gave him an instruction, he “got it”, he has the ability to turn directions into action easily. He’s also prepared to do whatever it takes to improve.

The present group of athletes I’m working with show an enthusiasm, an optimism which is exciting to be near. There’s a willingness to “go with something which is new to them”. It’s an optimism which washes away any doubts or pre-conceived limitations. It’s a “no fear” attitude.

This “open ended optimism” is the quality which produces great results. It’s the group energy which drives the whole squad forward. People with this optimism, are fast learners, the have the right mental state to turn directions into action in seconds.

I hear athletes and coaches talking about height, limb length, fast twitch fibres, slow twitch fibres, aerobic capacity, all sorts of equipment, GPS, HRMs, power meters and all sorts of things they feel make a difference.

The qualities I like to see in an athlete are

* Optimism – belief (in the plan) – confidence (in the plan) – a preparedness to do what has to be done – trust (in the coach) – toughness / resilience – and an ability to “listen, understand and convert directions into action”.

These are the qualities I’ve found most successful athletes have in common. We all hear things on different wave lengths, if there’s something you don’t understand, speak up. If we don’t quite “get it” we’ll never be able to convert it into action.


  • Jeff Collier said:

    When I read your posts Alan I think to myself as a coach and a competitor how lucky your squad is to have such a knowledgeable and inspirational person working with them. Keep up the good work !

  • George Hulse said:

    My mantra has always been “Do everything that Al says, and you can’t go wrong!”
    Thanks for the leadership Al

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