Walkin the Sidelines-What’s Your Why?


For The Express

The famous comedic duo, Abbot and Costello are widely known for their skit, “Who’s On First.”

Through much confusion, the duo attempts to come to a definitive understanding of whose playing where on the baseball field. The duo knew what they were trying to figure out yet couldn’t make it happen.

Similarly, many athletes often know what they want but have much confusion in trying to make it happen. Other athletes may not know what they want at all.

Therefore, athletes must ask themselves, what’s my why?

Yes athletes, I ask you, what’s your why?

You might say, who’s my what? Or, where’s my who?

That’s right, I said, what’s your why?

All too often we go through life doing tasks and duties because we feel they are what we are to be doing. In other words, we do certain tasks just because we are supposed to. At least we think that we are supposed to. Often, we do so with little purpose in mind. Many young athletes often do this as well. Their coaches or perhaps parents tell them that working out will make them better.

So what do they do, they workout. What are they doing? Working out of course. Therefore, the assumption is that they are going to get better. Caution, working out may or may not help someone to “get better.” Just as with people in general, athletes must consider what it is that they want to get better at before they set about getting better.

You see for explanation purposes I will state it this way. If my feet are bothering me and I want to get them feeling better so that I can begin to walk more and even sleep better, I’m not going to go to a dentist and have a root canal. Why? Because while the rootie might ensure that I never have a tooth issue again, it will be doing nothing to make my feet better. In fact, I could have all of my teeth rooted out and my feet would still be a problem.

So back to athletes we go. An athlete is told that they need to workout in order to get better, so what do they do, they head straight to the weight room and start pounding the weights. Ok, let me explain. They are perhaps likely going to get a whole lot stronger but what if what they needed to “get better” was to become quicker or faster? Lift all they want or can and a likely result will be that they get no faster and even perhaps slower and slower.

You see, just like I need the right doctor to treat me for certain ailments, athletes need certain workouts to meet their needs. This is one big reason why athletes need to ask, what’s my why when considering a workout plan. They should not simply workout for the sake of working out. The workout that they choose should be conducive to their goals for the workout.

First, however, they must ask themselves what their goal is in working out. Do they need to get bigger? Do they need to get stronger? Faster? Quicker? Jump higher? Once they understand their needs, they can then go about finding or developing a workout regime that makes sense in terms of their needs and goals.

Once the correct workout has been developed, the athlete must then ask the next why question. That is, why am I doing this? You might say, wait, I thought we just answered the why question. We did answer a why question but not this why question. This why am I doing this question is asking your reasoning for working out to get better in the first place.

In other words, is the athlete working out because they personally want to get better? Are they working out because their parents or coaches are pushing them to get better? Do they want to play high school sports or do they have a desire to go to a higher level? Do they have a general desire to want to get better by working out in the first place?

Seriously, the answers here do matter because they will determine what needs done and perhaps how hard one might work towards meeting a stated goal. These questions truly are important because if an athlete has both a goal in mind and a true purpose behind their workouts, those workouts are very likely to be very effective in achieving their intended purpose. If there is no goal or purpose in mind and the athlete is not working out in an organized program because they want to, the results will be minimal and could be better stated as, a waste of time. I have seen both ends of the spectrum on this.

I’ve seen athletes who are very haphazard with their workouts. Some who even worked exceptionally hard yet had no direction. They didn’t know their why. They just worked out because that’s what athletes are to do. In fact, at times, they actually worked out too much to the point that they failed to get any better in any capacity. I have also witnessed athletes who have been very directed or organized in their workouts. They knew their why, worked very hard and ultimately achieved their desired goals.

Working out is no different than anything else we do in life. If we are to gain maximum benefit from the work we do, we must have a clear goal in mind as well as an organized plan that will help us to achieve that plan. If those things are not in place, it is highly likely that a whole lot of work will be done, a whole lot of time wasted for very little benefit or gain.

So athletes, I ask, what’s your why? Do you know? If you do, do you know how to achieve it? If so, go! If not, consider your goal, talk to a knowledgeable person about how to help you organize and then likewise, go.

Failing to prepare will be preparing to fail. That is just plain crazy. Prepare for success and get going now.

Good luck.