Managing Your Momentum

Understanding momentum has been extremely important in my goal of qualifying for London 2012 Olympic Games. However, it is unrealistic to expect momentum to be infinite, like most things you need to fuel it. Here are a few strategies that I’ve found have worked for me over the years. 


I’ve posted this blog under Judo Improves Everything because while I learnt these skills through my passion for Judo, they can be employed in all avenues of life.


Momentum is a word thrown around all walks of life and across all sports. You’ve probably heard it said that a person is ‘on a roll’ or that a team is on ‘a winning streak’ or in ‘a purple patch’.

Understanding momentum has been extremely important in my goal of qualifying for London 2012 Olympic Games. However, it is unrealistic to expect momentum to be infinite, like most things you need to fuel it. Here are a few strategies that I’ve found have worked for me over the years.

  1. Why the hell am I chasing this crazy dream?

I always keep in the forefront of my mind the fact that the Olympic Dream has been in me since I was 5 years old and just 5 more minutes, hours, days, weeks, months of back-breaking training are nothing when I can sit down with my grandkids and tell them I ‘did it’, conquered my ‘Everest’ and will forever be an Olympian.


      2. Finish one thing, start another


Along the way to London 2012 I have many small goals I need to achieve. As I tick off boxes I try and take time to enjoy the small milestones. I also have good people around who remind me to breathe and that ‘I’ve done it before and I will do it again’. What this does is reset my mind. That competition is out of the way. Win, lose or draw it’s time to start from scratch for the next one. 


     3. Look after your crew because they are looking after you


It’s taken me a long time to put together my ‘crew’ but I couldn’t do half the things I do without them. These people range from family, girlfriend, coaches, physiologist, manager, marketing guy, sponsors, etc.

The people you surround yourself with need to understand your goals, genuinely want you to succeed and feel like a part of your journey. It’s easy to surround yourself with back-slappers who just tell you how good you are and not criticize you. However, having people who are experts in their fields, know you in depth as a person and are comfortable giving you regular feedback (good or bad) helps me train and perform at my best.

I also try and pick up mementos on my travels to give to my crew. After all, I wouldn’t have been to any of these great places without their help.Get away from the grind

I’ve seen more than my share of Judo players (me included) who take the passion for success too seriously, and it ends up tearing them to pieces when they don’t achieve one of their goals. If all you do is train, compete, think about training and think about competing, then I promise it will drive you nuts.


     4. Get away from the grind


About once a fortnight I try to have either movie night with my girlfriend or dinner at home with the family and make a conscious effort not to discuss Judo. A few hours to get back in touch with the outside world and not worrying about how much I have to bench press tomorrow morning, or how many nage-komi I have to do, goes a long way to balancing out my crazy brain just a little.


     5. Swing when you’re winning


If you’re in good form, and things are falling into place, then go for it. Ride that momentum wave for all it’s worth. If you’re on a roll it’s generally because your brain is shooting all the right signals to your muscles, your muscle memory is right where you want it and you’re making the right cognitive decisions at the right time.

It seems silly to think ‘wow, did I just throw someone with Osoto-Gari?’ That sort of question is likely to break all of that good energy you’ve got going. Better off thinking, ‘Well that just worked so maybe I’ll try that flying armbar I’ve been working on’. It may be the only time you pull it off!


     6. Give back and improve your outlook


A lot of guys want to get in and get out with their training. They focus on doing their workout routine and then leaving - and that’s fine. Personally, I find that works negatively for me.


I am lucky that all of the Judo sessions I do are followed by another Judo class where I can help out. So whether I stay on to help some beginners with Seio Nage or some kids with break falls, I leave training in a positive mental state (rather then just tired after randori or frustrated because this or that throw isn’t coming off correctly).


     7. 1000 hours principle


Most elite athletes (I like to think I am one of these too) train between 20-25 hours a week. When you add that up over a year it’s a bit over 1000 hours.

You must remember that even if things are going well, it’s not an excuse to slack off. If you’re not going so well you need to remember to put in the work and the results will come and if you’re on fire you’d better keep busting your butt or the guys chasing you will catch up mighty quick!


Well, there are my seven tips on momentum. The media in the sporting world love momentum because they associate it with winning. Elite athletes need to be a bit more sophisticated than that. Momentum is a cultivated force that once started can take you all sorts of places.


Hopefully you now understand the way I go about getting momentum going and can apply it to your own goals, whatever they may be.


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