When it comes to fitness and sports, all of have weaknesses. Can you make your weak link become a strength? For example, I have sprained my left ankle badly two times where I had to be in an aircast for six weeks on both occasions and I have plantar fasciitis. So, when I run for distance, I have custom foot orthotics and proper shoes. I make sure to stretch and strengthen my ankle muscles. That little bit of extra attention along with learning running technique has improved my running and I am running better now than I was ten years ago. In addition to old injuries, weak links come in many forms: poor mental focus, lack of flexibility, decreased core strength, physical diseases, being overweight, low endurance, eating unhealthy snacks, allowing your temper to affect your game or not practicing your sport.
Where to start? Get honest. First, self – assess your weakness and write them down. Second, get tested through a fitness assessment to obtain objective measures of your physical attributes. Third, develop a program to work on those areas. It is important to be disciplined when you start and it doesn’t necessarily take too much time. For example, if you have knee arthritis and enjoy playing tennis. Instead of playing and “getting by” with the pain, become proactive. Seek attention to learn how to strengthen the entire leg, become more flexible, learn agility skills and possibly get shoe inserts for shock absorption in your tennis shoe. Seek assistance by professionals to manage the discomfort while strengthening the leg and your tennis game.
A common thread during many of the strategies presented this year in BRL magazine has been the mental focus that is needed to get honest with yourself and achieve your goals. That may be the toughest link to develop in ourselves. Good Luck!