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When pride, passion is not enough

Published: 
Friday, April 17, 2015
Dirt Under the Nails

To represent your country in sport is a great honour. It is public recognition that you are amongst the best at what you do. As a Trinidad and Tobagonian, our colours are the red, the white and the black—powerful, amazing colours in every sense of their existence and combination and as you wear them you cannot help but be reminded of the pride and passion that come with the honour of representing your country.

“Pride” and “passion,” are strong words and I hear them often in the sports industry however, there is one more word “P” word that I would like to start hearing more in my industry and that is “preparation.” Thanks to our natural talent and good fortune, several of our teams have been able to achieve some remarkable results in the past but in reality, talent and luck are not enough to be successful in sport. 

Proper facilities, training camps, strength programs, healthcare, mind and body training, proper nutrition—these are the things that form the foundation of good programs. Much of our sports programs at the national level rely heavily on volunteer work, even from the athletes themselves. Athletes travel to and from practice at their own expense. 

If they get injured while representing their country, more common than not, the athletes who can afford to pay for their surgery and/or rehab are the ones who recover completely. Uniforms may be handed down from one team to the next. Conditions on which they train are often so poor, it is too often the reason for many of the injuries athletes sustain. 

So really and truly, by the time an athlete reaches competition day, the last thing they need to be told is about playing for “pride and passion” because the truth is, as the biggest stakeholders when it comes to sport, there is no one who has shown greater commitment or risked more than they have to be there. 

The system we have of rewarding athletes after they have won their competition, especially monetary rewards are acts of tomfoolery simply because in the grand scheme of things, that is money that could go further if invested in programs. Not that accomplishments should go unrecognised but where is the vision for sport in the long-term when prize money is awarded the way it is becoming norm to be done by our government?

Preparation is the area of sport that has not been given enough consideration. What is the point of spending abundant amounts of money on a sport to travel to compete in tournaments against high ranking countries that have invested and properly prepared their teams both physically and psychologically, when the prep work required to be a worthy opponent is not even a fraction of what it should be?

As a start to improving a sports program at the national level, athletes should not have to worry about getting to and from training sessions. Depending on the background of some athletes, just getting to and from training, depending on where they are coming from can be a challenge in terms of both time and money. They should also be afforded proper physical preparation. 

Providing both the strength and conditioning services as well as proper medical healthcare in the event of injuries should be non-negotiable. Elite athlete preparation can be as broad and elaborate as the imagination will allow but for the local environment “perfection” is not what I am suggesting. 

By now, every sport should have a home out of which their training is done but there has been too much corruption over the years for this to happen. Still, within Trinidad and Tobago there is enough resources to do better with the preparation phase than is being done now. So, while pride and passion are great words to use for a pre-game motivational speech, there is a lot more that goes into achieving victory. 

Apply pride and passion with the some carefully thought through preparation and you may find you have even more motivated athletes with a greatly likelihood of victory in competition. 

Asha De Freitas-Moseley M.S. A.T.C., has been an athletic trainer/therapist with the National Athletic Trainers’ Association (NATA) for the past 12 years. She specializes in the rehabilitation of injuries experienced in the lives of active and/or athletic populations applying Active Release Technique (ART), Facial Stretch Therapy (FST) and Contemporary Dry Needling to complement her training as a certified Corrective Exercise Specialist. If you would like a consultation or have an injury, she can be reached at Pulse Performance Ltd., located at #17 Henry Pierre St., St. James. Tel: 221-2437.

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