Walking into a park with hundreds of triathletes is mighty different than walking into a park with pipe banders, in so many ways. But there are similarities as well - to see top athletes hammer out Sprint, Olympic and Half Iron distances one after the other is truly inspiring, much like listening to a top musician spin out a well played set, it just makes you want to be better. It got me thinking of the time we all put into these things we do for fun and how we train for them. Or do we?
Ever read The Inner Game of Music? Barry Green took the 'natural learning' principles from Timothy Gallwey, who wrote the Inner Game for tennis, golf and skiing and applied it to music. We've all felt the nervousness, self doubt, fear of failure and distractions at some point on the boards or on the field....this book teaches how to acknowledge and overcome those feelings which in turn, enhances the experience as well as the learning.
I witnessed the Inner Game in practice at the Tri park this weekend on a number of different levels: Para-Olympians ahead of the pack, first timer Triathletes giving it their best, racers not finishing at all and one person blowing away the self doubt when it mattered the most. That last outcome was pure victory and proof that trust is a powerful tool.
How much of that is due to training? Or in a musician's terms, practice? Are there equal parts physical and mental preparation? On the day, does it just come down to shear determination and mental toughness?