Top 10 Series: Part 5 | The Ability to Adapt
5 | THE ABILITY TO ADAPT
Let’s face it — things don’t always go the way you plan, and unfortunately, you’re living through that right now.
But throughout your sports career, you’ve learned how to deal with loss, frustration, coaching changes, injuries, and unexpected situations year-in and year-out.
Maybe you almost qualified for semi-finals but didn’t. Or maybe you made it to the championships and were runner-up. Or maybe you tore your hamstring a few weeks into the season. Or your coaches moved, and new ones came in. Or your position changed, or new players came in and changed the dynamic.
You’ve been there before in one scenario or another. If you’ve made it all the way to a collegiate team, you’re basically a pro at adapting to situations in order to get what you really want. You’ve just probably never thought of it that way. You’ve fought through more challenges and obstacles than most people. Sometimes it was a slight deviation, and other times you’ve been completely derailed.
Besides getting benched, redshirted, academic probation, sickness, or family emergencies, injuries are the most common thing to occur when you least expect them — sometimes, there’s not even any warning letting you know to back off. All of a sudden, your season is down the drain while you’re rehabbing that torn hamstring and desperately wanting to get back on the field.
You may have lived something similar. You can’t control these injuries or even foresee them coming, and it requires a new perspective for getting through the season while watching your teammates compete. And while there’s no way to determine what’s up ahead, you didn’t give up.
You adjusted to your new circumstances because you knew you had to.
It wasn’t even a question. You most likely hated that you got put in that situation, but you also came to terms with it and began making arrangements for a new structure.
You’ve made it through one hundred percent of all the bad and the hard days where you felt like you couldn’t go on. Because at the end of the day, champions know their ability to adapt determines their longevity in the game.
Maybe it was more practice on a specific thing, or maybe it was more rehab. You had an original plan, but now it has to be flexible. Maybe it comes at a later date now. Maybe that means taking a fifth year to finish your athletic eligibility, even if you’re graduating academically. Maybe you’ll be stronger and more mentally prepared when it does. The goal is still the same, but the way you’re getting there has changed.
Champions know that there are variables in any situation — unfair calls, home-team refs, and they need to rise above them. They realize the things they can’t control and focus on the things they can. They are adapting all the time and innately hold themselves to a higher standard. In their responses, actions, and overall in life.
Their ability to adapt gives them an advantage, and they’re not afraid to deal with loss, or obstacles or challenges because they see these things as lessons, detours and setbacks, not end-alls.
It might seem like the end, but it’s not, because champions inevitably rise above.
If we’re being honest, is that how you’re tackling life right now too? How can you adapt to your current situation? How can you overcome it? What can you do to use this for your benefit?
Stay strong and take care!