In sport, there are no shortcuts. You have to put the work in if you want to make it. It’s that straightforward. Or is it?
Over two decades I’ve had the privilege of interviewing or simply having full-on conversations with many great sporting personalities from around the globe. And I could maybe count on one hand the amount of them who didn’t mention discipline being a key element in their life as an athlete or during their journey to some level of success.
Discipline is an essential foundation for any sport. It builds an athlete's character to help them set their mind to achieve great things. Beyond sports, it is also instrumental to succeed in other areas of life. But this doesn’t just apply to athletes. Coaches and officials play an important role in instilling discipline in young athletes. Coaches are likely to be always aware of this responsibility and show their athletes the benefits they can get from being disciplined.
Successful athletes know how to set both short-term and long-term goals. Discipline teaches an athlete how to set goals and focus their efforts in accomplishing these. And having self-discipline makes it easier for an athlete to recognise the importance of practice and preparation in reaching goals as an individual or a team. There's also the kind of discipline that deals with following the rules and guidelines. It's all appears straightforward - Follow the Covid protocols, don't break camp or curfew, don't be late for practise or don't keep the rest of the team waiting at breakfast.
Discipline helps you stay active, organized, have more self-control and stay focused. But we all struggle at some point to stay disciplined. The skills that come with being discipline don't only apply in your sport. They can also come in handy at school, the office, behind the wheel or even at home. Once someone knows how to be disciplined they gain respect from others because being strict with yourself is very difficult. If you want to reach your goals, being disciplined with yourself is the way to do it.
According to the UK’s PE Blog puts it, “Ongoing research indicates that schools are grappling with rising disciplinary issues, while at the same time society is struggling to understand the complex factors that are creating fresh generations of disaffected youth. We have been seeing this in Trinidad and Tobago over the past few years.
Aggressive behaviour is rising and rising unabated – in the face of which both students and adults need an outlet for their frustrations and a focus that makes them feel good in the process.
Once a sport has been embraced, an individual learns to keep their commitments to practice sessions, games, and training, and they will face situations where they choose their goal – progressing at sport – over things that become less important. This is why it is critical for there to be a return active and competitive sport here after almost a year of limited activity. Studies have shown how sports coaches can be positive, powerful influences on a person’s life, even more so in some instances as compared to teachers and parents. These coaches must continue to have the opportunity to play their part.
Former US professional basketball Malcolm Lemmons said, "The thought of doing something every day is easy. However, when you think about actually doing it, that’s when it gets hard. Extremely hard. Even if you are innately passionate about your craft — you’ll still have those days when it becomes a challenge to do. If you’re a writer, sometimes you’ll have days when you get writer’s block. If you’re a chef, some days the ingredients might feel off. If you’re an athlete, almost all of the time you’re sore and physically exhausted."
But despite all of that, he found a way to get things done and we all need to work this out. That's what true will power is about. We all know this line - "If you can do what others aren’t willing to do, you’ll have what others won’t have." Guess what? It takes discipline to even remember that piece of advice and use it in some way that will bring you what you want.
Shaun Fuentes is the head of TTFA Media. He is a former FIFA Media Officer at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa and 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Turkey The views expressed are solely his and not a representation of any organisation. email@example.com