Olympic Weightlifting Resource

The 110% Mentality
Nothing is more insidious than the hard work ethic. Granted it has it positives with regards to performance, it can also have potentially life altering negative consequences too. Of course, nothing extremely serious such as a gun shot or a horrible accident, however it can cause enough physical damage that it will prevent the athlete from participating in weightlifting or any other sport and possibly diminish their quality of life.

Working hard to succeed in weightlifting or any sport is a given, but taken to the extreme it can foster failure. It is important for an athlete to realize their capacity for work and learn to limit themselves so they do not set themselves up for a chain reaction of self destruction. This brings up the issue of working through pain. Athletes are taught to play through pain however, athletes are not taught to distinguish what pains to ignore and what to acknowledge. Athletes should be taught how to distinguish pain as a result from the activity and pain from an injury.

Highly motivated individuals are more susceptible to injuries, because of their motivation. Highly motivated athletes will learn to endure pain and work through it and sometimes embrace it. The problem with this mentality is that embracing and working through the wrong kind of pain will set the athlete up for more injuries and potentially a career ending and life altering injury. Granted not every highly motivated athlete is likely to adopt a mindset like this, but there is a possibility due to the high levels of motivation and the desire to succeed in the specific sport.

The 110% mentality can become extremely destructive in full contact sports such as hockey, football, rugby, and so on and so forth. "Tough athletes" may be given rewards for their tough performance. However, these may alter their psyche and will boost their dedication to the extreme. The athlete will view playing through their pain as something glorious and worthy of notoriety. Sometimes athletes may alter their mentality to one of "tough athletes do not need rest, never miss a play, they do not skip practice, and never let an injury keep them from playing, etc."

If the athlete never lets their injuries heal but keeps on playing, practicing, etc. then they fail to realize that they are no longer giving 110%, but are in fact giving probably less than 50% due to their injuries, overtraining, mental fatigue, and so on and so forth. Everyone knows one fool who gets injured and decides to work around the injury and only compounds the issue with a more serious injury. That is not good, especially if health is a concern!

Another important aspect in regards to injuries which athletes do not always think about is their quality of life after their sport career is over. This does not only apply to sport careers but recreational activities too. It would be unwise for an athlete to continue to push on through when they are injured and the injury could cause even more severe and significant discomfort in the future.

The most important thing an athlete can do is to learn to differentiate between good pain and bad pain. If an athlete can realize the pain he feels from the activity is just from sore muscles and not joint damage he will be able to progress faster. Similarly a good coach will also be able to recognize when his pushing an athlete to their top performance and not their top career ending injury that might lower their quality of life. Remember train hard but more importantly, train smart.