In November 2016 I travelled to Switzerland to address the International Olympic Committee. It was a fantastic experience and I enjoyed it a great deal.
One of the persons I met there was Baroness Sue Campbell who made a presentation just before mine. She spoke about her various programmes in the UK but she also mentioned that there were in her opinion six keys to success that have been developed in the United Kingdom.
These six principles are applicable to all sport in my opinion and they are:
1. Mental toughness – this refers to the psychological edge over your competition. Performing under pressure and in demand. Some competitions only come around once a year, maybe every two years and some every four years. Ten years of training can come down to a single moment in time.
2. Hunger to achieve- the desire to improve, to dream, to learn from your mistakes. The desire to make it even when it gets tough. To lose 99 times to stand up, dust yourself off and win on the 100th time. Athletes lose more than they win.
3. People skills – emotional understanding, respect of yourself and others, teamwork and leadership. To get the most out if those around you to help you be the best you can be.
4. Sports knowledge – in depth knowledge of your sport, to play by the rules, tactical thinker, to able to visualise events. To make the right decisions under pressure.
5. Breaking barriers- the ability and vision to push the boundaries of accepted norms. To make history, the courage to take a different path.
6. Planning for success- the ability to plan and prioritise life, tie, management. To set goals to find balance in life.
Each one of these keys will find some latitude in your life. You need to decide what you can use in your preparation. In South Africa we have many top events coming up in this next week and month. There is the National club championship and of course the SA Junior chess championship.
Each one if you as players or coaches must look at the above keys and apply them in your own setting. Every context differs from one to another. Use them. See what is your strength and weakness. Remember that a true Chessplayer knows his or her own weakness or strength.
I wish you well in your preparation.
Dr Lyndon Bouah