High Performance Sport and the frustration tolerance.

They are right who think  that elite sport is not healthy. Anyway, I´m not entirely agree. I am not referring to the possible negative consequences that can result for the bad application of high training loads in the health of athletes during their competitive career or later. I speak of the psychological consequences for those athletes, coaches, and other technical staff around the elite athlete, when you have not been educated to tolerate high levels of frustration. And, sooner or later it will be time to “taste” of defeat. Fortunately, in the societies in which we live, high-performance sport is a completely voluntary option. In addition, competition by itself, from the base sport to the elite, is selecting in a clear and sometimes cruel process, those who are better than those who are not so much. That is inherent in the sport. Something like Darwin’s theory about the evolution of species. Survive, those who  are adapting to changing environmental conditions. In the high performance sport, survive the winners and those who, no winning, are able to tolerate the high level of frustration that causes them not to win, to overcome and then search through the training for a higher performance level that will enable the re trying to win or get the goal you’re aiming. Like that, one competition after other. Until you can´t  tolerate anymore the frustration of failing to reach your goals, always complicated. I must make clear that my opinion it refers to the very specific field of High Performance Sports.

I am thinking about all those things because today, my athletes, Olivier Cauwenbergh and Laurens Pannecoucke have not achieved their objective, which was, at least, be in the Olympic A Final K-2 1000m. I can not blame them for any reason. They have come to the Olympics in good shape, they respected 100% the race plan and emptied themselves until the last stroke. It was hard to see them suffering after the race. In my case, I feel  frustration, so far, just after a few hours after the semifinal was held, contained and tolerated without major problems. I am also angry with myself for not having “touched the right keys” to make them reach a higher performance level for this Olympic competition. I could easily find some justifications that could help me to accept the reason for non-classifying them for the final. Neither seek. Not worth it. We’re in this area of ​​high performance sports to win, to improve, to achieve our goals. It only remains to pass a few hours, return “landing”  and transmit tranquility and serenity to Olivier and Laurens to compete again  the day after tomorrow with ambition in the B Final and later in the K-2 200m.

I feel specialy to have disappointed  to all those colleagues who were involved in this project, starting with Olivier and Laurens, continuing with Chris Vermeulen, Peter Hespel, Maarten Thysen, Dr. Vanbelle, Pol Rowe, Wim Meiresonne, Johan Blondelle and many others. I am sorry that we could not make happy all those who have moved from Belgium and from Spain, and are here to support us in every stroke, like all those who are doing from a distance, at home, wishing the best for our crew.

In my case, and for those who would like to console me (don´t  do it, I don´t need it), I must tell you that I accept to be defeated. I accept the unsatisfaction that means not having achieved the planned objective. I know well the particular “rules” of this “game” and I´ll move on. I have been very fortunate to have good teachers, who, so many years ago, at the right time and when it was necesary, they answerd me: no!, responding to my requests, sometimes capricious and other times inconvenient. I learned long time ago to tolerate the frustration, I learned to do not just what I like. They taught me to do my duty.

Carlos-M. Prendes
Eton – Dorney; monday,  august the 6th, 2012.
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Sprint Head Coach Belgium Flatwater Canoeing National Team Presidente del Club Piraguas Los Gorilas de Candás https://cime1234.wordpress.com/ cime1234@hotmail.com
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