You love playing your sport, you like your teammates and/or coach/es, you want to do well and achieve your goals. But training is boring or a chore; Why?

I find that people often have an underlying belief that just because they want something that it will always be fun and enjoyable. But the reality of life is that many things we may love overall aren’t always fun in each component or moment. I think every single parent reading this would agree that while we love our kids, and there are countless wonderful moments they bring us. There are also lots of moments we just wonder why am I doing this?

So, the expectation that our sport will always be fun is just setting us up for disappointment and failure. Rather we can choose to engage in the necessary acts and practice required to achieve our goals, or we can choose not to. But the results will ultimately depend on how well we adhere to that choice or put simply – how disciplined we are to our goals.

“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘don’t quit’. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.” – Muhammad Ali

Wayne Bennett, arguably the greatest NRL coach of the modern era, talks regularly about looking at his training sessions and seeing who will cut the corner on laps of the field, who will stop their sprints at 97-98m out of 100m. He knows that at the end of the season those extra 1-2m that were cut won’t make a difference to the player’s fitness levels when tested. But he also knows that if they find ways to opt out of going all the way in training, they will opt out of doing all that is needed in a tight situation on the field when the game is on the line.

When we make the decision to go to training when we don’t feel like it. Then when we make the decision to train hard even though we don’t feel like it. When we make the decision to do the full number of reps, the full distance, or keep the expected pace/rate even though the coach isn’t looking. Then we are growing our discipline muscle, and our decisions are in alignment with our goals and values.

Discipline is a muscle: It either grows or it withers, the choice on which one is up to you.


This blog is written by Sport Psychologist, James Kneller.