Experience the Difference

Commitment: ‘Either you do or you don’t, there is no in between’

Prompted to think more deeply about this question by recent experiences, I am now more puzzled than ever about commitment and what it really is! So what is it?

I don’t believe that commitment can be only applied to just one aspect of one’s life such as sport because, in my experience, sport mirrors the remainder of life. So there is a fair chance that if you lack long term commitment to your sport, it is highly likely that you will also lack long term commitment to your work, your friends and your family.

The dictionary definition of commitment is pretty well summed up as:


  1. The act of committing, pledging, or engaging oneself.
  2. A pledge, vow, undertaking or promise: obligation

I notice with interest that no dictionary definition specifies exactly how long that commitment needs to be consistently applied to satisfy the definition that you are committed!

From my point of view I believe this is where my confusion stems from in that every definition now seems ambiguous because there is no start and finish time.

Does one day of commitment classify you as committed? OR, does it require that you commit to an entire career to be classified as a committed person? I know which I think it is!

If there is a benefit of me now being in my 41st year of coaching, I have seen a lot of changes across the generations, and the generational diversity in the interpretation of ‘commitment’ is one of these changes that has been and continues to be an extreme challenge as a high performance coach.

Just like many of life’s many variables, the personal perception of commitment and what that very word ‘commitment’ means, seems to be extremely fickle and as such, different for each individual.

I have my own comprehension of commitment and just how that applies to every aspect of life. Accordingly, when applied to sport my definition seems vastly different from most others that I now come in contact with.

To find a potential athlete or indeed, an established athlete with the attitude to maximal personal commitment that mirrors my own, especially in these last few years is becoming less and less commonplace.

Some appear capable of remaining ‘committed’ for a day, a week, a month or even multiple months, in fact some shock me with their enthusiastic ‘commitment’ for that short while in the early stages of training, only to just ‘ghost’ away without a trace or message or any contact in any way.

Many people ‘commit’ to an event sometime into the near or not so near future by either qualifying for, and/or simply paying the registration fee.

To me, that very action of registering for an event should be the ultimate catalyst to total commitment for the preparation to that event with a desire to be in the absolute best possible shape come event day.

Upon qualifying or registering for the upcoming event, these are some questions that you should ask yourself that will assist you in the lead up to that event.

  1. What to expect as far as required physical attributes, (IE: skill set, speed, strength endurance or whatever your chosen sports’ demands are)?
  2. What you need to do and who can help you best prepare (be it a coach and/or who to train with during this entire preparation)?
  3. And how to go about applying all of those into your current life and lifestyle?
  4. Is it going to require some adjustments to your current lifestyle?

This upcoming event should trigger the utmost commitment to yourself, your coach, your teammates that you should be able to rely upon to further your sporting dream.

In this scenario, commitment becomes a two way street, you committed to them because you need them to improve, and them committed to you as by them helping you, you improve, and in turn, your commitment to them helps them improve.

My own take on this is simple, IE: if you are committed to the process, then you are obliged to remain so until the event is completed or if you are a long term athlete, you remain committed until the end of your career and you are now retired from the sport.

So to be a better athlete than you currently are you need the following list of commitments:

Commitment to the exact training as required

Commitment to your nutrition

Commitment to your rest and recovery processes between sessions

Commitment to your squad (if you have one)

Commitment to your coach (if you have one)

Commitment to your family and friends because you will need them when things get a bit tough from time to time.

By committing to all of these processes, you give yourself the best possible opportunity of success and that will be your commitment to excellence.

Without this level of commitment your results are likely to be very irregular at best.

If, however you happen to be that type of person/athlete that is only capable of committing to something for that short time, then you may need to line that short attention span of yours up with upcoming events that are close by in terms of calendar.

Then be happy with the likely sub optimal results based on the fact that your lead into that event was far shorter and less focused than the many long term fully committed athletes that you are likely to compete against.

Continued commitment breeds respect, so if respect is something you desire in your life, I suggest you remain steadfastly committed to everything that is important to you.


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