Self-discipline is a skill that everybody could benefit from yet many people are not able to fully master it. An interesting article called, Skills That Matter the Most, written by Tony Schwartz, defines self-discipline as the ability to say no when you are being tempted by something. This is where most people fail and are not able to say no when they have been offered something which they should not be doing or taking (dependent on the situation/context).
Athletes all over the world have to suffer the same temptations we face such as eating fatty foods and drinking alcohol, however, this is where the difference between the normal person and a world class athlete comes into play. World class athletes are masters in self-control and self-discipline. To reach the fitness, intensity and skill level of these athletes requires extreme amounts of self-discipline and self-control.
In a period like what we are going through now, where motivation levels are low and the future in unsure, football athletes are still training at home, keeping to their strict diets and are more than likely in contact with their trainers and coaches so that they can be ready for when the season starts again.
Why is self-discipline important for football athletes?
- In order for them to become the best they can be, athletes need to train vigorously, both on the field and off the field at gyms, and they need to keep to a strict diet which allows them to have high energy levels and be at maximum efficiency for when they play their matches. Getting up every single day to go and train, run kilometres and kilometres outside, whether it is extremely hot or cold, raining or not, is the only way that these athletes are able to reach high enough fitness levels for the intensity which they play at. In addition, the foods which they are required to not eat adds to the chances of reaching the fitness and strength levels they need to be at. Through self-discipline elite athletes are able to reach peak performance levels which has resulted in the high levelled competitions such as the Premier League and La Liga.
- Athletes are always looking to improve their current form and are setting new goals year after year. In order to improve their form and reach the new standards athletes are wanting to be at it requires more training, observation, feedback and ultimately more self-discipline. With more self-discipline to train harder and be more observant to skills and mistakes of the player that can be improved on, the chances of becoming better and reaching the goals will become easier.
- Lastly, self-discipline is important for elite athletes to remain at the performance level they are at. As mentioned earlier, many top performing athletes from all different sport disciplines are now currently training at home trying to keep their form at the highest level it can be. Athletes are able to train during this pandemic; however, the return of sports is still unknown meaning these athletes could be training for a few months without any actual matches or formal training at club facilities. In addition, self-discipline is required for these athletes to not slack off during this period so that when they do return to their leagues and tournaments, they are able to return at full fitness and game ready. Due to the high competition levels, athletes are also required to remain self-disciplined and need to train hard otherwise they will simply get replaced and forgotten about.
There are many more factors that can explain the importance of self-discipline for athletes, however, these 3 mentioned are basic beginning steps to discovering the importance behind self-discipline. We are looking forward to see when football can return and the quality at which it will return after all these months where no football has been played. Self-discipline will be key for athletes to remain in form and stay fit for when the football leagues are able to continue/start their competitions.