Sport teaches that life does not move by simply climbing pyramid #1 to its peak, and then leaping to the peak of pyramid #2, then to the peak of #3 and so forth. Sports teaches that once pyramid #1 is completed (regardless if that is a season, an Olympic cycle, or simply gaining a new skill), the next step is not a peak, but what appears on the surface as a move backwards. To some this move backwards may appear as an entirely new direction or even quitting. Case in point, Serena Williams practiced throwing footballs, took up martial arts, and ballet all to improve her tennis game. Who knows (and I doubt Serena ever cared) what judgement or conclusion an onlooker would make seeing Serena practicing football maneuvers?
After races in which Usain Bolt won an Olympic medal, set Olympic and World records, his coach would approach him almost immediately with key technical aspects of the race in which he identified opportunities to improve. In his autobiography Faster than Lighting, Usain Bolt shares how he couldn’t believe that his coach wouldn’t even give him a moment of glory, that he would immediately be bringing him back to earth after a medal or record performance. His coach wanted to ensure that the victory did not preclude the humbleness required to start on building yet another larger pyramid. Usain does not forget to mention that each time his coach identified the potential to run faster, that he did eventually go on to break his own records.
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