I am soon opening a blog in the English language covering the ideas, data, studies and opinions I have on sports and holistics. Stay tuned!
Sports and holistics
Christer Sundqvist, PhD
I have been promoting a lifestyle for sportsmen (and -women) which carries elements from holistic building-blocks. Those moonstruck individuals who have accepted my views and followed my advice, have found it comes in handy in their situation.
The building-blocks are simple and recognizable to each of us. The real challenge is to emphasize the importance of a balance between the elements of sporting success. The building collapses should any of the six blocks reach too much of importance, should the block be completely missing or become less important. Let us briefly look at the building-blocks giving ample success for sportsmen. In further writings I have decided to dig a little deeper into the building-blocks mentioned herein.
- Proper training. The coach should be more of an idea machine than a constructor of training schedules. A rigorous following of a training schedule is of course one common way to success, but not the only one. Actually, I have been submitting my sportsmen a very simple weekly schedule, which is applied strictly only if the situation permits it. The final training decision is taken by the actual sportsman. For example if there is a very hard training-day coming up after a couple of days, the sportsman critically evaluates if he is fit for the hard day, or should he change the hard day to an easier one to better suite his current situation (work or study load, health, problems in life). A wimping along during a very hard training day due to fatigue or lack of concentration, is a spoiled training session. When you are supposed to train hard, you train hard beyond any doubt. Training schedules are easy to set up, but a talented athlete is better treated in an ingenious way always following the schedule in a meaningful way. You are heading for success if you find your sportsman constructing brilliant training schedules by oneself. You will then as a coach find more time and energy to bombard your athlete with ideas and suggestions how to train even better.
- Sleep and rest. This is the real test of your coaching skills! Are you able to convey your sportsman through life empasizing that athletes are making more progress sleeping and resting than training very hard. Sleep means recovering and charging your batteries. Talented athletes don't make any excuses for lying on the sofa most part of the day should they feel drained out. Don't hesitate to bring all your wildest ideas to your sportsman concerning relaxing techniques. See building-block number 4.
- Proper nutrition. A cornerstone of sporting success is proper nutrition. Teach your sportsman to make his own food in the healthiest possible way. There is much wisdom to be found in nutrition science, but better keep everything as simple as possible. Carbs aren't the biggest problem. Attention should be made to healthy proteins and fats. When the athlete realizes that your everyday food turns into the building-blocks of all your vital cells, you are on your way to success. Junk food then isn't any option anymore!
- Relaxation. In addition to proper sleep and rest, I strongly suggest that the talented athlete makes use of several relaxation techniques. Relaxation is a process that decreases the effects of stress on your mind and body. I believe relaxation techniques are best accompanied with other positive coping methods in life. Positive thinking and finding humor are very important ingredients of life. It doesn't really matter which relaxation technique you choose. What matters is that you try to practice relaxation regularly to reap its benefits. Among the best relaxation techniques are these: Mindfulness, autogenic relaxation, meditation, praying, yoga, deep breathing and music therapy
- Everyday challenges. Life is sometimes very hard. The sportsman isn't immune against hard times. Hard times are good in their own way. Sometimes the only way to achieve true happiness and real progress is digging through sadness as well. It's again all about the balance. Lights and shades are balancing. What is the important message for the sportsman? When life is hard, this should be reflected in your training, sleeping schedule, nutrition, relaxation techniques, social life etc. Sometimes your coach might be your doctor or shrink, giving psychosocial advice and the whipper lends an ear to an upset trainer.
- Mental nutrition. Least but not last, there is still one building-block to be mentioned. You need a lot of mental nutrition to achieve your goals in sports. Your social life nurtures you mentally. You need the shelter of a happy family, a loving mother, a caring father, a lovely boy- or girl-friend and a bunch of trusted friends. For most of us, the social life needs an uplift. Research shows strong social relationships are tied to better health and a longer life. Having a rich social life means you have people to turn and talk to when life knocks you down and boosting your happiness during times of success. Mental nutrition means you achieve top-level performances whenever needed.
Being a keen lover of quotations and proverbs, I here surfaced some of the sporty and holistic ones from my private collections. Enjoy!
A lifetime of training for just ten seconds. Jesse Owens
I have failed many times, and that's why I am a success. Michael Jordan
Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do. Pele
Nothing succeeds like success. French proverb
I am prepared for every day. Even for tomorrow. Matti Nykänen
The most important thing is to stay positive. Saku Koivu
There are many people, particularly in sports, who think that success and excellence are the same thing. They are not the same thing. Excellence is something that is lasting and dependable and largely within a person's control. In contrast, success is perishable and is often outside our control. If you strive for excellence, you will probably be successful eventually. People who put excellence in the first place have the patience to end up with success. An additional burden for the victim of the success mentality is that he is threatened by the success of others and he resents real excellence. In contrast, the person that is fascinated by quality is excited when he sees it in others. Joe Paterno
A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be. Wayne Gretzky
The conditions are awful, I hate them. I have been driving like my grandmother. Still, it's my first time out with Ford and I'm leading the Monte Carlo rally... that's not so bad. Marcus Grönholm
There are no environments where you're only going to win, because life just isn't like that. Bobby Orr
The strong one doesn't win, the one that wins is strong. Franz Beckenbauer
It's difficult to put my feelings and emotions into words. It really feels great to finally win a title. I've played well in many semifinals and finals but then haven't been able to finish it, but now I've finally won a title, so it feels unbelievable. Jarkko Nieminen
Running is a mental sport, more than anything else. You're only as good as your training, and your training is only as good as your thinking. Lauren Oliver
You have good days and bad days. Usain Bolt
All that I am, I am because of my mind. Paavo Nurmi
Everything starts from the experience when you learn to eat meatballs with a fork. Then you know how to do anything. An interest in food and an interest in sports go hand in hand. Matti Nykänen
Understand this: it is more important to take to heart the key instructions than to receive a great many teachings. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
On the journey toward your goal, whatever it might be, you always have to expect a downturn. It’s essential to have this in mind, because emotions to a large extent are steered by expectations. If you expect your journey to be nothing but fun and games, your emotions will play out differently than if you expect some degree of hardship. And the journey toward your goal will be filled with meaning. Erik Bertrand Larssen
I've made my share of mistakes along the way, but if I have changed even one life for the better, I haven't lived in vain. Muhammad Ali
Winning isn't everything - but wanting to win is. Vince Lombardi Jr.
They say that nobody is perfect. Then they tell you practice makes perfect. I wish they'd make up their minds. Wilt Chamberlain
You keep shooting. You hope it goes in, and you smile. Teemu Selänne