Staying In The Game: If You’re Not Playing On A Team You Still don’t Need toGo Solo

I have found many of us need a little motivation and encouragement to help us reach our goals. This is especially true for athletes who are not on a team with a coach.

Some of us are having a hard time getting started with a workout plan. Others want to improve and take their game or fitness to the next level.

One of the easiest ways to do that is to find a training partner. You may need a number of training partners if you participate in multiple sports and activities.

You can have one friend meet you at the gym for weight training and another meet you for yoga class or hitting balls on the tennis court.

I have been fortunate to have had a number of excellent and fun people to train with over the years. I have been able to motivate them to improve, as they have also motivated me.

It can be easy to skip a workout or not push yourself if you are doing it alone. You can not roll over in bed and decide to skip the 5:45 run before work if you have committed to meet your running partner at the end of the road.

One way to find a training partner is to join a club. There are a number of running clubs in the area. You can check with any of the local sporting goods stores that specialize in running.

Most of the local bicycle stores have group rides for many different ability levels. The indoor tennis facilities have leagues you can join to play with people of your own abilities.

A number of years ago when I first started cycling, I had a patient who was a former state cycling champion invite me to ride with her and her soon-to-be husband.

I was reluctant because she was such a good cyclist and I was a beginner. She promised to take it easy on me. While I thought of myself as being in decent shape, I was not in cycling shape like them.

What they did was teach me the finer points of cycling. For example, I had never drafted. This is where you ride very close to the rider in front of you, as close as six inches. You must not let your tires touch or you will go down.

They also worked on my spinning so my legs did not burn out too quickly. They helped with climbing hills and how to get aerodynamic on the descent.

Of course, there is always the trash talk that goes on with your training partners that makes it so much fun. I call her the Iron Maiden and he is the Cheetah. They nicknamed me Sissy Boy.

This couple also introduced me to a new winter sport, skate skiing. I have found this to be such a great workout. It is similar to Nordic skiing and is done at a cross country ski center.

I have found too many people play their sports without practicing. Many golfers never go to the practice range to work on their game but are upset when they do not get better.

It also happens in tennis. You go and play sets but you do not drill. This is where a partner is important. You cannot hit a down-the-line, topspin backhand in a match if you never practice hitting it.

I have drilled with tennis players that do not play at my level, but we are both able to work on our games and improve.

My advice is go find a training partner and have some fun.