Last one best one...
This was a common mantra of the distance girls during workouts. Kassie Kromish her freshman year started saying it and soon it caught on. Whether it was Kassie, Jess McAdams, Lexi Wilson, or Gabby Vassalotti! Generally someone would utter the phrase when we were on the last part of any workout. Basically saying, this is it for the workout and let's make it our best.
We had a saying in college that the last one always took care of itself. We knew the hardest one was always the one right before the last one. We were engrained to think the last one was almost like auto pilot. We knew we could get through it. It is like the final 100 of a 400m race, or the last 200m in an 800m race. For many, it is those parts of the race that separate the champions from those that are just hanging on.
This past weekend I was reminded of that saying, last one best one, as many former Lady Chiefs were ending their college careers. Not many get to say the last time they laced up their spikes, they ran the fastest that they have ever run? If you can, then it is truly a storybook ending to many years of hard work. I think what really applies, is how last one best one is something that should carry over into everything that you do. Races, workouts, academics, and life.
There is only one " " season of your life. Fill in the blank. One freshman year, one sophomore year, one junior year, one senior year, one trip to nationals, one state meet, one conference meet, one meet of champions, one chance at a school record, etc. You need to take advantage of the opportunities that you get, because they will go by too quickly. Everyone doesn't get all those oopportunities, but everyone has the ability to improve and see success. Success certainly depends on the person, not all successes are the same. Some finishing a race is a success, some gauge success on school standing, state standing, and even national standing.
To be successful at any level requires consistency. Anyone can have one good race or one good mark, but it is those that approach practice, pre meets, warm ups, and cool downs with that "last one best one" mentality that will achieve consistent success. You can not pick and choose when you want to be successful. Those that do often find that the times they want to pick to be successful, they are not.
Does that mean that there won't be any bumps in the road? Of course there will be. It is how we face adversity and deal with it that helps us grow both as a person and as an athlete. I have seen seasons missed due to injury, or seasons wasted due to lack of commitment, but learning and moving on is what takes you to a new level. It goes back to an ancient Chinese proverb "if you don't change direction you will end up where you are headed". Whether you are a freshman, senior, first year athlete or a seasoned athlete, you all have the ability to contribute to this team. It is your daily approach that we as coaches see, and ultimately your teammates see.
So... Last one best one, the choice is yours.