Sport Psychology, though not new, in theory has gained widespread practice in the past two decades. Today’s athletes and teams at all levels employ professional sports psychologists to assist in the acquisition of both fine and gross motor skills and to achieve the highest mental focus and self-confidence levels necessary to optimize physical performance.
I worked as a professional shot putter for 14 years. I won two world championships, went to three Olympic games and achieved just about every goal I ever set for myself. As you can imagine, a lot of young athletes asked me what they needed to do to have a career like mine. I told them the truth, and I’ll share that truth with you now, but a lot of people didn’t want to hear it then and won’t want to hear it now. They hoped there was some secret, some shortcut that would help them be a professional without the effort. Being a professional means a lot more than just collecting a paycheck or having a sponsorship, so in today’s article, I’m going to point out a few of the things that I did to put myself in a position to succeed.
This article isn’t meant to attack anyone, or be inconsiderate of challenges others face. What it is meant to do is to challenge the thought process of those that assume they know the privileges bestowed on others. What sparked this brief piece is being asked to reflect on my white male privilege and my elite lifter privilege before posting on social media. Specifically the elite lifter privileges of being able to train in the best facilities with the best tools, that others don’t have the advantage to use. It is this latter portion that I will address.