The title of this blog reads “How to Build an Athlete”. The ‘how’ in the title might suggest that I (Charles) am going to provide you a basic recipe or formula for becoming an Athlete. I have to be upfront to avoid potential disappointment: reading this blog won’t give you an easy ’10 steps to follow’ guide. Instead, the purpose of this blog is to offer my personal insights. I’ll try to convey interesting insights through text, images and videos. That said, if you put a bit of thought in it, you’ll likely be able to translate many of my experiences to your own context.

After all, all sports require a different kind of discipline, hand-eye coordination and training but they also have various things in common. The physical and mental challenges to reach goals and live ‘dreams’ by overcoming obstacles and disappointments to reach satisfaction is probably what sport defines.

My blog does not talk about ‘Athlete’ in the narrow context of ‘what makes an Olympian’? For that read: stories about Daphne Schippers, Michael Phelps, Li Ning or Usain Bolt. Instead, ‘Athlete’ refers here to the notion of a sportsman more generally; someone who is willing to train, compete, and self-improve. I am an Athlete of (almost) all trades, master of only some. When I grew up I used to swim before going to school, I played football after, went boxing, rowed in Uni and more. Always at a serious level. I won but maybe failed more, to succeed at the end. ‘Sporting’ became completely incorporated in my daily routines.

Finally, what do I mean with building an athlete? The construction of a house might be a useful analogy in this respect. Before you need a house, you need the right fundament. I will touch upon that issue here as well; what are the struggles (be)for(e) starting a new sport? Triggered by an article in the local newspaper (Limburger), I decided to aim at a new goal and pick up a new sport. The goal for 2016 was the Ironman in Maastricht with a challenging time – picking up cycling and improving my swimming skills are main challenges…. For 2017 the goal is to cross the Ysselmeer swimming (22k). Lets see how I will digest that one.

Yet, more often than not we don’t build houses from scratch. We merely renovate them. In similar vein, what if you already doing a sport for a long time, how can make sure you can still improve (in a short period of time)? What does it take to change your old routines? And who can help you? From my experience, there are many answers to all those questions. Details make the differences and the support of coach helps. More answers can be found on the blog later.

And how to do all this in parallel to a busy life? Can we escape the need to make the typical choice between ‘sports’ and ‘social and professional life? What kind of things can we do to make this balancing act easier? What could we do to ‘have it all’?

I’ll try the coming time to touch upon many of these issues. Following my blog might help you to add some novel insights to your sport routine and reach the goals you have set.

Enjoy life – Good luck training!