Recently, while doing some work with a group of athletes I work with, I went over how they need to view tournaments that they go to for their overall Taekwondo success. I told them that it doesn’t matter about the local competitions, or even the International Open’s whether they win or lose. It’s not about winning. They’re about trying out new stuff, getting comfortable with new techniques and their performance.
People get caught up on that they have to win the whole time. This is especially true when competing either at National level, or at a local tournament. If they’re the local favourite, they feel there is pressure on them to win, every single time.
For your long term success, this is NOT something that you should be doing.
From my previous article about Winning By Failing In Taekwondo, I talked about that you have to be willing to fail a heck of a lot in order to win, and win big. By using local, National and some International Tournaments to try out new things and work on technique and performance, you’re setting yourself to win the big ones – whether that’s a Taekwondo World Championships Gold Medal, or a very rare Taekwondo Olympic Gold Medal.
Even if you feel you’ll never be at Elite International level, you can still use this same strategy to win the tournaments you want to win.
If you want to win State or Nationals, all you have to do is compete in as many local tournaments as possible, working on your technique, working on your strategies, working on your footwork, your timing, a specific kick, etc etc etc. We only get better by practising. We have to try it for real. We can practise up to a point in training with our usual sparring partners. To bring it to the next level we need to bring it to a tournament. If there are some small tournaments that you can attend, these are perfect for you to try out new stuff.
Let the pressure go that you’re not there to win, but to work on what you’re working on. You never know, you could still win – and I’ve worked with athletes who have done that again and again – but that’s a bonus. Perfecting the technique and your overall performance is the focus of the tournament. Knowing how you did, and that you’re improving is what’s paramount.
And to bring this up a level, you can do this with International tournaments if your goal is to win the World Championships, or the Olympics.
There are countless Olympic Champions, and World Champions who lose time and time again at the International Opens. But they didn’t lose because they weren’t the better player. They lost because they were perfecting something. Their focus was on the bigger prize, and losing was a by-product of aiming for something much much bigger.
Whereas the person who won that International may feel great that they won, etc, it’s the champions who knows that they were working on perfecting their technique is the one I would be putting my money on for the next World Championships.
If you’d like to share what you thought of this with me, I’d love to know. Let me know in the comments box below. 8)