Excellence or perfection

Posted on Posted in Coach's Diary

excellenceI haven't written in a couple of weeks.  No, I haven't been lazy.  I may have taken my eye off the ball... but not in the last two weeks... I did that a few months ago.  (Note to self: You got this... do better!)  The Triathlon Coaching is pinging along, although it was rather wet at Bike Skills this week and a pair of flippers would have been nice.  We did all stay upright though.  Was that excellence or perfection?

Nope I am blaming the WA school holidays for not getting a diary entry out.  But sorry anyway.

School holidays really suck... well, they do and they don't. If you are an 11 year old and want a lie-in, they are the best thing in the world. If you are a parent with a young baby (and an 11 year old who wants an lie-in) trying to find time to get your work done, clean the house and be an excellent parent something has to give! So I haven't done much cleaning, sorry Helen.  The good thing is, you get to spend loads of time with your kids.  We built a chicken coup... chickens arrive tomorrow... Rhiannon (the 11 year old) has already named them.

So this week has been more Daddy Day Care and less Mrs Doubtfire, and only 'just enough' being a Triathlon Coach.  Rest assured, next week, back to the Triathlon Coaching full-on, Mrs Doubtfire still on the back burner, maybe, possibly, more by choice.

Its going to need to be, I've just written my project to-do list out for the next few months... its going to be exciting.  Can I have some extra hours in my day please?

When do I take a break

In the first week of the school holidays my family and I went to Sydney.  I promised I would take a holiday in my article, "When do I take a break" back at the end of April.  Got to say, first impression as I got of the plane was "Wow..."

I thought I had got off in Manchester!  Quickly realised I hadn't, as there is nothing looking like the Tyne Bridge in Manchester.

Now, before I get lots of comments saying that I didn't like Sydney, I did.  It was fab.  It didn't rain (unlike Manchester), the skies were blue in winter (unlike Manchester), you could see down into the water in the harbours and along the coastline, and the trains had two levels!  No really, each carriage had an upstairs and a downstairs.

We did all the tourist things, harbour on a boat, gawped at the bridge (it really does look like the Tyne Bridge), walked past the Opera House, walked along the Bondi coastline much to the 11 year old who wanted a sleep in's distaste.  We also placed bets on what time the cruise ship would leave, drank coffee, ate tons, swam in the local pool (first swim in months I might add) and ran on the treadmill in the gym... although the view from the hotel was pretty cool.

So to the to-do list.  Well if Sir Richard Branson can get the project list done on the inside of his book, "Business Stripped Bare" then I can smash this list.  I'll be drafting in some help, but I got this.

So what is happening in my little Triathlon world?

Actually it is quite big!  There is so much going on, that I actually forgot my coaching philosophy applies to the coach as well as his athletes.  Consistant, Sustainable and Balanced Training... also means Consistant, Sustainable and Balanced Coaching.

Feeling Philosophical

I understood this week that perfection is unobtainable.  Yes folks, I am a perfectionist.  Everything I do should be perfect.  Its hard for a muppet like me to appreciate that nothing is perfect, but like all addicts, I took my first step.  I realised what I was doing... with some help...  understood that I should aspire to achieve excellence.

Then immediately got told, that is actually what I do... I just think about it the wrong way.

Excellence is achievable with effort and planning.

Excellence will give you a sense of achievement... where as perfection has the inevitability of failure.  Excellence is achieved by being process focused, perfection is all about results.

Let me tell you a story.  This happened to me about ten years ago:

I had just had a really good race, coming back from real testing times.  Nailed the race plan.  Could not have got any more out of myself.  I had an excellent race and finished 9th.  Someone walked up to me and said, "what happened, you only finished 9th!"  I got beaten by 8 better athletes on the day.

At the time I dealt with it really well.  I maintained that I had an excellent race, technically, and could improve if I continued training and racing... following a process.  However, if I had my perfectionist head on... it could have destroyed my love of the sport or any sport... only 9th!

Anyway, just a thought...

Helen Viehr had an EXCELLENT race (see what I did there) in Frankfurt finishing in the top 12 of her age-group in one of the biggest races in Europe with a personal best time.  She has also qualified for the Challenge Worlds for 2018 (with her result at Salou).

I think I need to shout out to coach Andy here too: probably don't do that enough!   Shout ANDY.  Rachel Walmsley finished top 3 in her first middle distance race at Holkham & Seamus also had a corking race to go sub-5 hours.

Back here in WA, we are sticking to doing what we do... race season doesn't start until October.  Still working on technique and developing strength.  Funny story though: "We did a team session during one of our squad swims.  So doing 25m swims as a continuous relay.  I didn't count the length (its the athlete's responsibility to count the correct number of lengths) - all the teams ended up with different distances and one team, each member had a different distance.  Not that hard to count to four ten times!  Loved the passion at the end of the pool though.

The weather is genuinely a bit chilly first thing in the mornings here but the group rides, the head-torch runs are still oodles of fun.  Actually we get to see some of natures best in the best light (or none) getting up early.  Gets the sessions done when everyone else is in bed... our journey to excellence.

My Spanish even took a break this last couple of weeks.  Mrs Doubtfire's performance was not the only thing which had to give.  De vuelta ahora.

Next week, I promise a golfing update... sadly I did miss getting into the Open this year... but there is always the next one!

Hasta la próxima... eso es todo.



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