Jake, a 13 year old I train, is a superstar. He is a multi sport athlete with great natural ability. After one of our speed/agility training sessions I decided to throw a random challenge at him. I called it the "Gatorade Challenge". I said, "If you row 500 meters in under 2 minutes, Jake, I'll buy you a Gatorade, think you can do it"? Jake, being the athlete he is replied with an "of course". The fact that he has never been on a rower put him at a disadvantage. I also gave him zero instruction on form, this was a true Challenge! I simply told him the louder the fan was, the faster he was going.
Not sure of how to pace himself, he sprints right out of the gates. I start watching the screen to see is pace, it reads 1:47, 1:42, 1:45. He was rowing fast but I wondered how long he could hold the intensity. Holding back on verbal cues to correct form, I simply motivated and cheered on his effort.
He is passed the half way point now, and fading ever so slightly, still under a 2 minute pace. But then, without a word, his intensity begins to decline. With fight left in his body, but eyes losing faith he appears to be rowing upstream battling rapids with all odds against him. 130 meters are left and the pace climbs: 2:02, 2:08, 2:12.
Like all great athletes, no matter what age, we are able to go to that place in our mind. If you have been there, you already know what I'm talking about. The place where there is no feeling, and no sound. Only visualization of the task at hand being completed. Jake's photo finish:
He left with more confidence, sweaty clothes, and a gatorade.