I have completed indoor track of my “sophomore” year.
Last night I competed at New Englands. Although I was ready to jump, I didn’t have the same mental-motivation as when I came into NE-10s. I was surprised to see myself seeded so high (9th), so that helped–but the bottom line was: I was tired. Excuses, excuses, I know. I jumped 10’6″ and finished 10th–I’m okay with it. I had a great season! But I’m really more excited to just take some time off, train hard, and move on to outdoor track to make that season even better than this one!
But, at the end of everything I complete I get all mushy and reflective upon everything that has happened. I always learn something new and of course this isn’t any different. So I’ve decided to express my new wisdom:
- Relax. Coach Ken always told me in high school that the biggest problem with my vaulting was “between my ears”. Well, it’s pretty unbelievable what happens when you can come into a competition with a cool and level head. Guess what? I GET IT. Dr. Hoogasian once told me, “I never step on that runway without telling myself I’m the best one there.” My first meet of this season is a perfect example of what happens when your head gets in the way of the competition. (Yep, that was a big NH next to my name)
- Always find the positive. Okay, I kind of already knew this about other parts of my life–but since vaulting is a huge part of our lives, it shouldn’t be any different. Sometimes I beat myself up and I mistake finding the positive for making excuses. For example: Yeah, I only jumped 10’6″ last night, BUT last time I jumped at BU this season I only jumped 9’6″ (I have to credit Doug for that one). You have to get rid of your negative energy…otherwise, life’s gonna start sucking pretty hard and fast.
- Smile. I’m sure I don’t need to tell you, but VAULTING IS FUN. I found that I jumped my highest heights when I had a fun time, joking (still focusing though!) and having the ability to keep things light. Sure, I’ll trip coming off the mats because my spikes got stuck in the top cover. Yeah, I have absolutely terrible jumps sometimes–but instead of getting mad over it, just laugh it off! Don’t take yourself too seriously. If you need help lightening the mood, wait until I’m at a competition with you! I make a total fool out of myself
- Kill them with kindness. This goes along with smiling of course, but we are extremely lucky to be in an event where we have a HUGE network of support. All of us have been in each others shoes at one point or another and can relate. It takes a really sour vaulter on a very crappy day to be unable to give sympathy seeing a struggling vaulter or to not be excited for another competitor’s successful day. I’m not just talking about competitors either: coaches, officials, parents & siblings, other teammates’ and competitors’ parents–they’re your biggest fans. I’ve certainly learned this from over a year of showing up to meets with my one pole and no coaches to help. Other coaches step in and help you, officials even help out! Another example: after one of my meets–I had a stranger come up to me saying, “You were so fun to watch. Congratulations!”—I had no idea who they were, but thank you. It was very nice of her to tell me that.
If you are polite, smiling, and positive–that energy will attract others to want to see you succeed, even enough to help you when you need it. It’s vaulting karma, kids. What goes around comes around.
It’s interesting to see that a lot of these things I’ve learned have to do with your mental preparation instead of training your body to get it in shape and working on technique. Of course, that is extremely important–but without taking care of your attitude…how are you going to get any better? How are you going to stay motivated enough to keep coming back for more if you don’t create a positive place for yourself in pole vaulting? I know that’s what keeps me coming back for more—and it makes working hard a little easier.
ALSO, I had no idea how many people actually read my blog. I’ve had multiple people come up to me at meets saying that they’ve read my blog. I just want to say, thank you. I’m glad that I could help in some way, entertain, or just kill some time. That’s pretty darn cool.
Good luck to all those continuing in more championships and meets! I’ll see you guys in outdoor season!!!!