High Performance Manager Darren Roberts looks into the things that you can’t really measure.
Photos: Sebastian Schieck
There’s an ebb and flow to sport, with races and championships seeming to have a life of their own – they’re living breathing things. They may seem linear as a championship, because they have a start and finish, a beginning and an end. However this is an illusion, they are anything but linear – anything can, and does, happen. It’s no different with athletes.
When working with athletes you are always getting them to control the ‘controllables’ – to worry about themselves and their own preparation. Any time spent thinking or looking at what a rival is doing is time wasted, you can’t ‘control’ what they do or how – and besides, whatever works for them is exactly that, it works for ‘them’. So just worry about yourself and what you need to do. That’s is all fine, and you don’t need me to go into detail on the length and depth modern WC racers go into with their prep in this piece, but what about the ‘uncontrollables’?
You see the it’s the uncontrollables, and the things you can’t measure, that often have the largest impact on not just races, but the championships and more importantly the athletes themselves. It’s the uncontrollabes and unmeasureables which are the ‘dark matter’ of sporting life. They are everywhere, filling the massive voids between what is measured and what can’t be; what can be controlled and what can’t. The specific link on that specific chain, at that specific moment, which snaps; and not in any other moment, but the one that mattered the most. The emotional impact these things have on the athletes, everyone in the team and whoever is close to them, is not to be underestimated, I say emotional rather than psychological, as it’s about feelings… thoughts become things.