The hardest challenge is in trying, says Nicol

  • Say What
  • Wednesday, 18 Sep 2019

ALL of us have goals, all of us want something, all of us dream of something; but why is it so hard to achieve it?I have realised that one of the main obstacles to achieve it is ourselves and the reality behind it all.

To achieve something it requires time, dedication and lots of patience.

In today’s world, these three things are the hardest to deal with.

We have less time to commit to what we want and therefore we grow impatient. We want things to happen instantly. The harsh reality is that sometimes we don’t even try hard enough.

I think our three main challenges to trying something or anything are as follows:

Setting unrealistic goals

When I moved to Amsterdam, I was only 18 and my coach Liz (Irving) sat down with me to talk about the future plans for me in training.

In that meeting, she emphatically told me that I was probably only going to become a world No. 1 player – when I hit 25.

I still remembered what went through my mind. I wanted to die! I have to wait seven years, no way!

But as she continued explaining, she showed me the master plan.

Together, we worked the plan step by step, building and improving at every stage. She showed how much time and effort it would take, it made sense so I was committed to it.

Little goals eventually make a big goal.

The first year with Liz was about moving better on court. I was fast but that didn’t mean I was moving well, we had to make my movements efficient so I would last longer in matches.

That was a little goal, but after 15 years competing, I was the fastest and had the best endurance on the Tour.

Therefore, ultimately, I reached my main goal – that is not to get injured and to be able to sustain my strength to keep myself on top of my game.

Whatever you embark in, start with small steps and keep at it, so big goals will be achievable. When you get the first one going, the second one tends to become easier because you have done the work and you believe in yourself to move forward.

DedicationI repeat this quite a bit but it’s what I believe in, and there are ‘no short cuts!’

If I go back to how many hours I have trained and competed, being on planes, being jet-lagged, being sore to my core, I would probably wish I had a short cut to everything. But the truth is, they don’t exist. It all comes down to hard work and dedication.

Stick to the plan! Believe in it and let the process take over.

NegativitySometimes, we say we can’t do it even before starting it.

Of course, it can be frustrating. Frustration is the biggest step to self-improvement.

After many years as the No. 1 player, squash started to change, its dynamics evolved. Now, it is faster. One has to hit lower and go for the attack quickly.

It was tough for me because I played the exact opposite. I became so frustrated because I had to reinvent myself. Instead of killing myself over it, I went back to the basics again.

Focus on small goals and restart my plan. Each tournament, I would practise being more attacking on court, hitting lower until it became more natural to me.

Although I’ve never recovered my No.1 position, I think I played the best squash of my life at the end of my career.

Give yourself a chance! I promise you won’t be disappointed in the long run.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of The Star

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