Adam Kreek, a 2008 gold medalist in the M8+ from Canada, gave a Ted Talk back in mid-December on an interesting topic: “the power of non-attainment”, aka what you learn and get out of failing at something.
Here are three things I liked from his talk.
“Even though we’re competing against each other, we’re on the same team. I can learn something from him.”
At 6:40 listen to his explanation of what “I seek failure” means. If you embraced that idea and applied it to one workout every week, how much better of an athlete could/would you be?
“…I’ve realized you can fail and be happy or fail and be sad. You can succeed and be happy or you can succeed and be sad.” I bet if you think about every erg test, every training session, and every race you’ve been apart of you’ll find at least one thing that falls into each of those categories.
Put this in the context of a 2k test. You can succeed and be happy because you trained hard for the test and the result was a new PR. You can succeed and be sad knowing that even though you set a new PR you didn’t train as hard as you could have, didn’t push yourself throughout the piece like you know you’re capable of, and didn’t PR by as much as you were hoping for. You can fail and be happy because even though you didn’t set a new PR you finally pushed through the wall you always hit at 300m left. Or … you can fail and be sad because everything that could have gone wrong in this piece went wrong. Shit happens, right? You should look at this as a learning opportunity, regardless of what the outcome was, because there’s always something to be learned from a 2k, be it something physical or psychological.
Don’t underestimate the things you can learn from your teammates either. I’ve said this numerous times to the coxswains on here – if one of your teammates is really good at something and you’re actively trying to get better at that same thing, go ask them what they did to get so good at it. You never know when they’ll drop a knowledge bomb like “I seek failure” on you.