This article was originally published on Waterpolo Planet
One of the main controllable aspects of your game is effort. Your coach and team always demand that you work as hard as you can in a sport that demands hard work. Water polo is a physically demanding and taxing sport. As our capacity for work expands, it’s easy to just show up to training and practice and go through the physical motions in order to survive. However, by just showing up and going through the motions, you will not be maximizing your effort and controlling this controllable to get the most out of yourself.
Here’s one way you can train yourself to find the next level. Do more than what’s expected on a constant and continual basis. Our nervous system wires us to send warning signs to our mind when we start to push ourselves outside of what we think we can do. This sign warns us of the times when we are starting to become physically uncomfortable. However, most great athletes understand that you need to force yourself outside of your comfort zone by overriding that warning sign. If you push yourself just a couple percent more when starting to feel uncomfortable then you realize that your body and mind do not break. They start to build confidence that you are expanding your threshold for discomfort adding to your comfort zone.
This is important but it’s not easy nor is it well understood by each individual athlete how they can push themselves. So it’s important to shift your focus to a deeper level of effort. Shift your focus to making each momentary movement intense and with passion. When you add intensity to your movements, you narrow your focus to what’s important now for the task at hand. When you add passion you realize that you are competing in something you love and that your purpose extends beyond yourself. You really learn to connect maximum effort with the underlying reasons why you choose to play the game.
So, control your effort by shifting your focus to intensity and passion. Expand your comfort zone by doing more than the minimum of what’s expected in every movement in every moment. Your capacity will expand in what you can handle and you will become very efficient in maximizing the amount of energy you have to give to your game.