Apparently not. We’re really good at getting “so far.” But, once we get there, it seems something, some inner fire that propels athletes on, dies out. There must be a reason, (most probably several), hindering Egyptian athletes from reaching international competition level.
In order to cut the infamous Gordian Knot and be a force to be reckoned with, we need to not look inwards, but rather turn our sights outwards and farther still. We need to look at what our successful international counterparts are doing and take note. We then need to look into the future and see how we can take all that information and make it work for us. Every athlete, every team is unique, however, all have an underlying common ground; foundation training, structure and enforced discipline.
So if we take a look over our shoulders and see what other trainers, coaches and managers are doing for their athletes, what exactly is it that we will find….
Nutrition and Supplementation
In the field of nutrition, where protein, carbohydrates and fat, minerals, vitamins and even water are measured in micrograms and grams, the-one-size-fits-all method of eating has potentially disastrous effects on even the non-athlete.
If each and every human is classified according to specific parameters like age, gender, level of physical activity, race, and genes and so on and so forth, it stands to reason that each and every human, therefore, has different nutritional and supplemental requirements. This couldn’t apply more to athletes. Different sports require specific combinations of food and in turn, so does every athlete within that sport; a bodybuilder has different nutrition and supplement requirements than that of a football player or a marathon runner.
There is a belief that supplements have hazardous effects on health to the extent they will even jeopardize it. Some athletes are told that supplements may cause impotence alongside other horrendous long-term effects. Anything extreme is potentially dangerous and definitely inappropriate, however, one of the important pillars of the dynamic nutrition approach is that each nutrition and supplementation plan is tailored, individualized and structured according to the athletes sport, body composition, sporting level and training goal.
Without the proper support from a scientifically based nutrition programme, including selecting the proper choice of nutrients and supplements, then the athlete will not be able to maximize mental and physical performance, whilst minimizing fatigue. No one can win, and carry on winning, if they continue to use the same recipe; athletes change, formulas change, strategies change – our athletes need to change with them.
Training Techniques and Safety
The world of fitness and sport in particular has come a long way in the last 25 years. Research, new techniques, plus tried and tested training methods have come together and come up with the near-perfect training regimen for every sport you can think off. The remarkable thing is that it continues to progress and is an ever-evolving area with new competitors being born daily. Using old-fashioned training styles and not progressing with new and proven techniques will not help the athlete to achieve his maximum potential and may well increase the risk of injury, burn-out and de-motivation.
Unfortunately, this is the sad reason many of our national competitors don’t go on to further their dreams in the sporting world. It’s not because they need a “proper job” or because they’re not good enough, it’s because they are physically beaten. Extinct, (or what should be), exercises such as Behind the Neck Lat Pull Down, (or any behind-the-neck-exercise), Decline Bench Press and deep, narrow Squats are just a few of the ones still performed, that will put the athlete on the fast track to Rehab not the podium
Well-planned, detailed, annual periodisation training programmes are what are needed to ensure we deliver the absolute best to the greatest sportspeople we have, so they can go on to be supreme in their field. Appropriate warm-ups, agility, flexibility and plyometrics training, plus strength and conditioning are all essential pieces of the puzzle that go alongside being coached in the world of sport.
The mind is the strongest thing we posses; stronger than any muscle in our body. If we believe it, we can go that little bit further – but we have to believe. The preparation for any contest starts in an athlete’s mind.In order to be mentally prepared to succeed, you must have clear goals, be mentally driven and at the same time, when pressure it at its utmost, emotionally in control.
Trust between athlete and coach and athlete and trainer is paramount; open communication is essential to allow the athlete to mentally focus, know his strengths and his weaknesses, which enables him to capitalize on developing an ideal performance state, pre-season, season and even off-season.
The athlete, the coach, the fitness trainer, the nutritionist, the physiotherapist and the management should all have the same vision, the same goal and the same game plan. Conflict will only produce an unstable environment that will not allow focus and dependability. Everyone involved must have the confidence in knowing they are in the very place they want to be and in the best place possible to achieve the goal.
A team of specialists are the ones who can come together and combine knowledge, experience and driving power. Management have to be willing to invest. Without this, our athletes are looking to become the ultimate sportsperson within their filed, without the foundation and specialisation required to succeed.
With this will come consistency. Why do we reign as champions nationally, only to be defeated by under-dogs internationally? Our athletes have to know they are given absolute support not only by their country and their fans, but also by the team of people who can help make them become the greatest in the world.
Our athletes are the ones who can bring home the medals, but we have to provide them the tools to do it with. After all, great are athletes are made, not born.