I learned a lot over the last five years, of course, much of that has to do with completing my undergraduate education and going through Physical Therapy school. With that said, I feel I learned nearly just as much during my time spent on the track training and competing in the decathlon.
The decathlon is an event in Track and Field involving two days and ten events of competition spanning from the shot put to the pole vault, the 100 meter to the 1500 meter and everything in between. Success in this event does not come quickly, but I loved every second of the struggle over the years. In reflection, I owe so much to this event for what it taught me and how it helped me to grow.
1. The Decathlon Taught Me To Be Humble
A big score in one event can help to boost morale and momentum. However, poise and humility at the beginning of each event are essential. One mistake in one of the ten events, and your score and placing could be completely altered. I learned to celebrate the small victories while keeping my head down and focused on the task at hand.
I have always aimed to show my clients the same. Progress is great in all its forms, but keeping your eyes ahead on the goals you set out at the beginning of any endeavor is key to success.
2. The Decathlon Taught Me To Seek Learning Continually
After one year of training, I thought I had a pretty good grasp on the events and a good training plan, I just had to continue to practice to improve my score. As I dove deeper into each event I learned about the deeper levels of mastery needed to improve.
This fine-tuning of knowledge and thinking is what has helped me to continue to grow in many aspects. Sure, I do have a much wider breadth of knowledge than I did before, but I continue to be hungry to learn. Through my experience, I strive to help others grow and learn about their bodies and movement.
3. The Decathlon Taught Me To Respect And Listen To My Body
Something I have since instilled in all my clients, learning how to listen to your body and respond appropriately is key in successful rehabilitation and performance. My decathlon career did not end with a big win or an amazing personal record; instead it ended with me listening to my body. As a graduate student who spread himself too thin, I was getting constantly getting injured and sick. In the best interest of myself and my future, I stepped away from something that I loved so dearly.
The experiences I had helped shape me into the young clinician I am today, and for that I am thankful. As I enter my career, I strive to continue to learn and to grow, empowering clients to do the same as they travel along their own path toward success.
The ups and downs of injury, stress, success, and failure are not always an easy storm to weather, but I thank the men I was able to compete with and learn from for the lasting experiences and effects the decathlon has had on my life.
What have sports taught you over the years? Have you had similar experiences to this? Let us know in the comments below!