Canadian rower Adam Kreek is an outstanding athlete with a heart and passion for excellence. Adam won a gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics in the men's eights. He also won the gold medal at the 2002, 2003 and 2007 world championships for Canada's men's eights team. A graduate of Stanford University inengineering and hydrology, he currently is a leading inspirational keynote speaker. Adam facilitates workshops on reaching higher performance in sports, business and life.
In addition to his athletic achievements, Adam is also a world-class entrepreneur, working diligently to create positive change in scores of companies and communities by sharing lessons learned and practical guidance based on his Olympic experiences.
In this lesson with Adam, you will gain unique, valuable insights into the mind and the soul of a remarkable champion. Specifically, you will learn his mental and psychological approaches to practice and competition, his views on powerfully effective teamwork, and much more.
Adam believes that the conscious presence in each moment is the golden key to effective practice. Practice is not about going through the motions with our body while our mind and spirit resides elsewhere. Rather, practice is about focused effort with our entire being. This ingrains habit and skill into our unconscious self. The goal of "being in the now" during practice is to create an unconscious competence within our mind-body-spirit.
A great tool he uses for bringing back presence is to imagine a teacher, a coach or a monk who is standing over his shoulder. When he starts thinking about or connecting with anything other than the task at hand, his guide shouts at him "BE HERE NOW!" Then he gets back to the task at hand with his full being.
Ben Rutledge, a former teammate and current coach of the University of British Columbia loves to say, "Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect." Presence will consistently unlock a perfect practice session.
In Adam opinion, The obvious goal of athletic competition is to win. However, he finds that focusing too hard on attaining the win weakens our ability to perform. It is comparable to finding the perfect man or woman, or filling your bank account with cash. If you only focus on the result, you stay single and poor. Instead, we must focus on the higher goal: uncovering our authentic, best self.
Competition exposes the core of our emotional, spiritual and psychological being. Rivals act as an extreme, external motivation that helps us go deeper to find our best and worst qualities. In competition and challenge, we find our inner truth. How hard are you willing to work on competition day? How skilled are you? How well did you prepare for the day? What stops you from displaying your best self? What does it feel like when your best self shows up?
If you search for your, best self during competition, you will find it. Victory often comes along for the ride as a pleasurable side effect.
Six months before the Olympics, he experienced herniated and bulged discs in the L4-L5, L5-S1 region of his back. The physical pain was unbearable, but the psychological challenges compounded the pain exponentially. At first, he was relieved because he could take a couple days off training. However, relief turned to panic and hopelessness. He hit his lowest point about two weeks after injury. One of his doctors told him that his injury would not allow him to compete again. This hopeless future combined with his inability to train fueled a painful depression.
Injury is the most challenging psychological obstacles to athletes because our paradigm changes. His sports Psychologist, Bruce Pinel, gave him a good coping strategy. "The goal remains," he said, "The path has just changed." He changed his path and kept the same goal. Instead of training for 6 hours a day, He committed to activelyfor at least 6 hours every day.
The best advice to lift his depression, however, came from his father. "There are two types of people you can talk to: Solvers and Sympathizers. Talk to each group in a different way. Talk about the depths of your pain withand talk about the solutions you are taking to solve your pain with your Sympathizers." Our Solvers can be the chiropractor, psychologist, doctor and physiotherapist, while our Sympathizers can be our teammates, coach and romantic partners.