Featured image: Cole Swannack
It is an unprecedented time. Globally, we are facing a challenge, massive not only in scale but also in its uncertainty. Coronavirus not only challenges our immediate health and healthcare systems, it causes additional challenges to our economy. It will affect our businesses and our lifestyles, both now and undoubtedly during a long recovery phase.
On an individual basis, we are each experiencing our own challenges too. Many are reporting a change or decline in physical and mental health, unemployment or job insecurity, company restructures and difficult decisions to make alongside the inability to see friends and family.
With so many unknown factors surrounding COVID-19, for solutions to the large-scale issues scientists, economists, and government officials rightfully look to learn from historic events.
But what about the individuals? Where can people find motivation in these perplexing times?
Whilst by no means the only genre to find relatable stories, sport is a significant one. Especially when it comes to facing challenges head on.
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Among other such traits as self-belief, discipline and commitment, the pro athletes’ journey into sport and continuous progress throughout their career offer personal accounts into what it takes to overcome challenges. And whilst the history books present great advice for how we can move forward as a civilisation, sport stories are accessible to all and provide genuine insights and motivation when it comes to facing our own, very personal challenges.
Trystan Lloyd, the Openside Flanker at Yorkshire Carnegie told TMA International that big injuries have been his biggest challenge to date.
“It’s hard watching the lads go out to train and you’re stuck in the gym with a horrible upper body session on the ski erg and battle ropes!”
Currently, we can all relate to being stuck inside. It has been a real learning curve to accept our new circumstance. When asked how he coped, Trystan said, “I always felt it was important to take every day at a time and try not to let the situation get the best of me.”
England Sevens’, Will Hendy, had a similar experience. He told TMA:
“My biggest challenge was getting injured during my first game in Vancouver. I thought I could walk it off and play on, trying to play the tough guy. How did I overcome it? I listened to and trusted the advice of the coach and the physio. They reminded me that I am young and there are plenty of tournaments still to come. It was tough but I am glad I listened.”
From this, an understanding can be gained that whatever challenge you are facing is a moment in time and will be overcome with patience, and a continued determination and belief in your ability to prevail. Reaching out and accepting the support of others is also a significant step in progressing physical and mental health.
At age 16, Charlie Beckett, had just left home to start his professional Rugby career at Leicester. Within a month he found himself in hospital having a knee operation, miles away from friends and family.
“It was tough,” said Charlie, “physically and emotionally, but I got through it with the help of my family, friends, team mates and the great medical team I worked with. I think it is important that no matter what the challenge is, if you need help for it, you seek it out and find the right people to help you through.”
Martini Talapusi, of Rugby ATL, Atlanta, Georgia, also sustained injuries. First breaking his leg in 2017, and then, during the second game of his return to Rugby he tore his ACL, the ligament that connects the thighbone (femur) to the shinbone (tibia).
“Thankfully, I had a good support system pushing me and the mindset of knowing why I wanted to keep playing and who for. That really helped to get me through it!”
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Whilst the world sits in uncertain times, a good support network can provide feelings of security and confidence, helping you to maintain or rediscover a certainty in your own abilities and ambition.
On building and sustaining a strong mindset, Cherif Traorè puts, “the desire to train” as one of the key traits required to be a pro-athlete. He told us, “My biggest challenge was during my time at my very first club, Viadana Rugby. I worked hard. I really pushed myself to the limits, knowing that was the way forward to the career I wanted to achieve.”
However tough, Cherif’s strong work-ethic has led him to play for Italian team, Benetton Rugby.
“We were on tour in Japan when I was told I’d made the team. I was very happy. I couldn’t wait to descend on the field with my brothers. The day I found out, we went on to win the game against Japan. I was so proud to go home to Italy with a very important victory.”
Challenges are in nature, demanding and often frustrating, but the results can be abundant. To keep moving forward takes effort and determination. At major milestones, we must also be prepared to adapt, just as Maliq Holden adapted to a new club when he joined Cornish Pirates.
“My first year at my current club I struggled to play, and it was so tough mentally as I wasn’t used to that feeling.”
“I overcame it by trying to maximise every single session and worrying less about selection on the weekend. This focus helped me improve and fully commit every day and when I got my opportunity, I was in a much better position than I would have been in had I stayed in the initial negative mindset.”
I felt and looked this tired on leg 12 😂😂 Thanks for the message! https://t.co/sGMFQB8XF9
— Maliq Holden (@maliq_holden) May 13, 2020
To be a champion in any endeavour, be it in business or lifestyle, you must learn to face challenges and overcome them, through reaching out to others for support, upholding an unyielding self-belief and being able to adapt to unexpected situations in order to come back stronger.
And sports stories offer empowering messages, relatable to real people.
If your club is facing challenges, reach out to TMA International. We have solutions to revenue into the club.
If you are a business, contact TMA International. We have marketing solutions that will connect you to one of the most loyal communities in the world.
Now is the time to adapt. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org