Finally after a very long twelve months and a doubled up season of playing tournaments its time for a break!
After completing my last tournament for awhile a huge sense of both relief and happiness flooded over me. Unfortunately my season was extended longer than normal due to my move overseas but its proved worth it. I’m so excited to take some time away from squash and so much so that I have put the racquets in the cupboard and do not wish to see or hear a ball being hit…at least for awhile!
Oddly enough allowing myself the beak and rest is another thing entirely. Finding I have to justify it to myself even though I’m aware it is more than well deserved but also required. I struggle a lot with accepting rest as apart of training even though it is an essential component to any athletes schedule. After all we live and breathe the sport 24,7 and 365 days of the year, our body and life is our job.
In a difficult state of mind when deciding to take some time away I received a few words of wisdom from a friend. They began explaining to me that its just not humanly possible for anyone to constantly work and not take a break. By then making a comparison to the usual career work life it gave me some extra perspective, stating that everyone in ‘normal careers’ are allocated a set amount of holidays per year, followed by asking me why do you think that is? Of course I can see reasoning in this and respond with people will burn out and become less productive, let alone begin to hate their work and not be able to live life enjoyably. Clearly the point was made that athletes are no exception to this after all we physically and mentally push ourselves everyday and that therefore taking a break is definitely a job requirement for more than one reason.
A break also gives time for reflection back upon the year that has been both in squash and in life generally. Its important as an athlete to take these moments and give big picture views upon our careers. We get so caught up in constantly pushing ourselves, chasing our dreams and bettering things that we often forget how far we have really come. So focussed on where we are going we don’t give due credit for where we started and the journey that has been made along the way. It also allows us to identify the positives and negatives which occurred, enabling us to learn from these experiences for the future. From this we grow as both athletes and as people.
To be completely honest I’ve never wanted a break more, totally exhausted in both the mind and the body after what became a very long year. One quickly important reflection is that future breaks are a must in the training plan to prevent reaching this breaking point. All too often we go through tough phases where we lack motivation and the determination but continue to push. Its strange in way that only recently I found my love for the sport that so quickly I need a break. I’m aware now more than ever that taking a step back will not only keep that buzz feeling alive but make it stronger.
Looking ahead I’ve got a full season of summer training to enjoy or maybe injure is a better choice of word. This will be the first summer training block for a couple of years now which is exciting as I have the chance to work not only on my fitness and strength but the little things that all contribute to my game overall. The motivation for training is quite different as the pressure of performance is removed and can push yourself to find new limits. Athletes thrive on taking things to the next level and raising the bar. Bring on the Sunshine.
& That’s My Athletes Mind…