Do Athletes Continue Competing Through Illness?

“Obstacles don’t have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it”. Michael Jordan

Getting sick is never convenient. Athletes pride themselves on being healthy and fit. Aside from injury, dealing with the flu or a cold can be frustrating prior to an important competition. Dealing with the flu might keep you out of the game. A cold, however, is just an inconvenience. With the right determination it can be turned around.

At the outset it might all seem like doom and gloom. So stop focusing on the negative. Figure out how to strategically optimize your circumstances. Momentarily you’ll be thrown off course; therefore, flexibility is required to adjust your game plan.

It is during these moments where confidence is tested. Your energy is at a premium during moments like this. A strong mindset will keep you focused. Many great athletes have been in this situation. Their commitment to excellence provided the strength to show up and get the job done.

When you’re sick, high performance requires you to optimize your energy. Efficiency is the key by working smarter, not harder. To do so requires technical excellence. Proper technique allows you to do more while expending less energy.

Initially it might be difficult to see any benefit from competing when you feel lousy and just warming up feels like an effort. Amazing possibilities exist when you are in the moment with present focus and the adrenaline is flowing.

Have you ever noticed you are less emotional when you are sick? Well, that can work in your favor during your event. With less emotional charge to distract your focus you increase your efficiency.  With your energy focused on execution the likelihood of being caught up in the moment is reduced.

Taking some of the emotional charge out of your performance can work in your favor. The situation of competing while sick causes you to become laser focused on accessing your mental reserves to focus on performance. A laser focus on performance without the emotional chatter places you in the zone.

Although competing with a cold is less than ideal circumstances, it is possible. If your coach is ready to put you in the line-up the decision is up to you. How do you want to show up? Many great athletes have proven it is possible to compete, and win, when sick. Whether it is from being worn down from traveling during the season or the winter cold, is irrelevant. What really matters is whether you are going to give it everything you have. A strong mindset, rethinking your game plan and technical excellence will create the best strategy given the circumstances. Don’t wait; position yourself for zone performance now.

Activity: How can you reformulate your game plan to optimize your strengths? Where are you technically excellent? Which areas need improvement? Don’t wait for something to happen where you will be caught off guard. Do what is necessary now to build this into your training program and your game plan.

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