Isolation is not an excuse.


You have a choice – you can sit and wait for the lockout to be over; or you can get to work and come back better than ever.

For those interested in the latter; here are some vital steps you need to take in order to become the high performer you dream about.

  1. Be great at the fundamentals – understand the fundamentals and basic elements of your sport. Become brilliant at these through deliberate and mindful practice. If your mind immediately starts making excuses as to why you can’t e.g. I don’t have a partner to kick with, I cant go outside blah blah – my response is – find a way!
  2. Build on your strengths – don’t overlook what you are good at. Spend time turning your good into great, as this is what will set you apart from the rest. If you are already a good runner, become a great runner. If your skills are pretty good, make them outstanding. The last thing you want to be is average at everything.
  3. Focus on the right things – don’t try to change everything at once. Focus on the key things you need to. Think about your game day performance – what are the keys to you performing well? What specific actions do you need to do well? Make sure these are what you are actually training.
  4. Become a student – use this time to learn about your sport. What are the new trends you should be aware of? What are the current stars doing in terms of GPS, times, distances, skill completion? You may just find an edge you can exploit over your competition. This may also mean learning how to use your mind more effectively by trialing some mindfulness techniques – try it, see if it works for you.
  5. Respond to feedback and get help – you don’t have to do it all by yourself. Talent will only get you so far; it’s what you surround the talent with that will make all the difference. If you are lucky enough to be in contact with your coach, use him/her. If you have contact with a conditioning person or dietician – use them! It takes a team to build an athlete.
  6. Take responsibility – it is impossible for another person to motivate you. They can inspire you for a short period, but you have to own your own motivation. The old saying, it’s what you do when no one is looking that counts most, is very true. The greatest athletes don’t need someone waking them up each day, they don’t need pushing, they don’t make excuses as to why things can’t be done.

Even if you do all of the above really well it doesn’t guarantee you success. It does however, guarantee that when you are old and look back on this time you will be comforted knowing you really gave it your best shot.

That in my opinion is the definition of real success anyway.


Contact Nathan for high performance coaching for individuals and teams.

About the author: A long time ago Nathan played 323 games for St Kilda and is currently the Head Coach of the Western Bulldogs AFLW team. He also runs a successful consultancy focusing on high performance and resilience.