Coach’s Corner – How Bad Do You Want It?
Who doesn’t love a little football player training montage, mixed with some music from the Friday Night Lights movie? Add in a speech on what it really means to want something and you’ve got a first class reality check. Let me tell you about my experience after I watched this video.
The first time I watched this video was in the fall of 2011. It had been a rough summer for me. My performances were on a decrease. The stress in my life was building to an all time max. I caught my dad’s house on fire (that’s a whole other story). I felt like I was fighting every thing, every day, every step of the way. It was exhausting and I was so angry that things weren’t going my way even though I was giving it my “all”.
I trained hard. I raced hard. I moved to LA, lived in a friend’s spare bedroom for free and was burning through my savings left and right. No one knew how hard that year had been for me or the things that I had to strive through just to keep the pedals turning. No one could tell me I didn’t give it my all.
Then I watched this video after it got shared on Facebook one morning as I was drinking my coffee. When the speaker said “you have to want to be successful as badly as you want to breath”, it hit me like a lightning bolt dead in my core. I sat back and honestly asked myself if I’d really treated my training in the last year as seriously as though it was as necessary as breathing when you’re drowning. The simple answer was no. Not even close. It was time to make some changes.
I went down stairs and threw out the junk food and soda. I re-organized my life to never miss a single part of the little things for training. I woke up by 6am every day and arrived everywhere 45min early to be the best mentally and physically prepared that I could be. I never cut a minute off of a road ride and always pedaled 2 pedal strokes past the finish line. The process was slow and painful at first and everyone looked at me like I was thrashing myself for no good reason. But then 5 months later that all started to change.
At nationals in 2011 my 200m time was an 11.1 I think. I’m not even sure because it was so horrible I didn’t want to admit that I had gone that slow. But after rededicating and refocusing, by March of 2012 I rode an 10.5 in LA which was by far an all time best for me. By June in T-town I rode an 10.4 on a clear night in training. And in July in Colorado Springs I rode a 10.0 and an all time PR.
I didn’t make the Olympic team and I didn’t win the Sprints or the Keirin in 2012 at Elite Nationals. But I did win Rider of the Year in T-town and I did have some of the best racing and most fun I’ve had on a bike in my entire career. But most importantly I really learned what it meant to want and need something more than anything else. And I had learned some of what I was truly capable of. I may always look back and wonder if I could have given a little bit more, but I at least know I was the closest I’ve ever been to perfection.