I was very lucky to have had three Olympic coaches as mentors during the 13 years I competed as a world-class decathlete. I still rely on lessons learned from them — valuable for fishing and plenty of other pursuits.
The common thread is that each coach was organized, focused and had a very clear, simple and effective idea of how to approach the mental aspect of the sport.
Their golden rule: Focus completely on doing your best and your strategy, not on your competitors’ performance. It’s easy to start looking around when things aren’t going right, but in most cases, it takes away from your own peak performance.
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The decathlon’s unique structure emphasizes this rule. Decathletes are scored on their best mark in each of the 10 events with no consideration for who won. Decathletes must think about doing their very best each time out. Run all the way to the finish line and never back off just because you’re ahead of the competition. No showboating here! We trained that way every rep.
Works for fishing, too. Is your focus on what others are doing and imitating them, or is it on following your preset strategy and executing it flawlessly? It takes discipline. This was the zone all my coaches worked to instill in me in our daily training.
Being the best fisherman you can be is a completely different goal than trying to be better than everyone else fishing that day for bragging rights. If you don’t win, is the day a total loss? Or is it a victory because you accomplished your personal goal and improved your skills? In the decathlon world, anything less than my best effort cost me precious points and the respect of the other athletes. If I got a new personal record mark in an event, I didn’t really care what the other guy did. My excitement wasn’t based on beating him; it was based on getting the best I could out of myself.
What could this approach do for your fishing?
Delta stripers, sturgeon and bass hitting, Randy Pringle reports. New Melones kicking out bass and trout, John Liechty says. Southern aqueduct stripers still feeding, Jacob Rutledge reports. Tule River trout action good, Chuck Stokke says.