Tuesday, 1 December 2009


Disclaimer - this will be a rant. I'm moderately pissed right now.

There are times when surprises are not welcome, and business year end
is no exception. This is a time when you should celebrate the
positives and be positive in dealing with the negatives in the past
year. I do not have that perspective today and it has left me
completely deflated.

In triathlon and all other sport, one rarely sees the level to which
athletes pour their heart and soul into what they do. The countless
hours of effort, the stereotypical "blood, sweat and tears," and the
sacrifices made all in the pursuit of excellence. I was reminded
today that for some, none of this matters.

What does matter is not only the end game but the level of trust in
reaching the end goal. Rather than taking the time to understand what
the athlete is doing and providing timely and effective feedback, the
athlete is deemed a risk and is put under an invisible gauntlet where
end game performance is measured. Nothing is said of this by either
side yet both know of it's existance.

Thus surprising perspective often comes from an unexpected source
which makes the situation even more draining. The athlete starts to
second guess old and new decisions alike, questioning every move and
considers sacrificing more to find a pattern of appeasement. If
that's even a word. Rather than feeling a part of a strong and
supportive team, the athlete feels alone, a lesser force. Mood and
continual stress affects all but the strongest of these athletes, and
for many they start to fade away and perhaps accept (unwillingly) a
lesser role.

I think that of these athletes there are a few who make some
realizations around their situation and things take a bit of a turn.
It may be that they see the light being broadcast through the team, or
perhaps they suddenly believe in themselves enough to not care what
the rest of the staff think. Whatever it is, it becomes empowerment -
good or bad, well that depends all on your perspective. But change is
imminent for the athlete, and improved performance will occur -
regardless of the end game outcome.

Only when perspectives are held rational to consistent measures, not
sporadic glances for judgement, will perspectives be correct. Team or
no team this is true, and wise athletes and teams should take heed.

Otherwise you might lose that athlete. And even if you do manage to
keep that athlete on your side, one day or another he'll kick the
team's ass. And it will be done purely through his or her own will
and personal strength.

And that's when the athlete will have regained the trust that was once
lost. And from the team's perspective all will be good having
returned to what once was. But this trust is one-sided and has been
so effectively demonstrated as such. And with that demonstration, the
athlete's perspective is once again validated as correct.

To those athletes reading this, I encourage you to follow what you
truly believe inside. Don't let someone else's perspective change who
you are. Be strong in yourself, stay true, and be patient enough to
eventually prove them wrong.

And know that this can be done on your current team, or another on
willing to accept you for who you are.

Stay strong.


Mike said...

Amazing post! I might cut and paste it in a letter to some of the members of my "team"! Amazing ain't it! The thing my team is guilty of is that I'm the guy who, during a training ride, will lead the pack and allow other team members to rest while I'm doing the work. At the end of the training session, they'll take credit for a great ride and not give credit to the fella that made their jobs easier! Hope it all works out for you brother!

Trevor Oseen said...

I understand.