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learn-from-an-athlete-headerIs your kid far more athletic than you ever hoped to be?

It's a shocking experience to realize they may not share your limitations. Today my high school daughter heads off to compete at the Midwestern Rowing Championships. At first her athletic prowess was just funny - a happy accident of two non-athlete DNAs making a right. Then we took it way too seriously. We had a lot to learn about this foreign experience. 

Now, I see a higher level of athleticism coming through that is giving me new appreciation for being a jock.

What can we all learn from the biggest endurance sport around?

1. Just Put the Miles In: Like so many other things in life, rowing is a sport where you improve in teeny tiny increments over lots of practices. You don't even notice you're getting faster and stronger until you perform the same race again six months or a year later, and you're moving ahead.

2. Good Practice = Good Performance: Daniel Golman recently wrote about findings that it's not really the case that 10,000 hours of practice makes you an expert. Instead, you have to have 10,000 hours of good practice. Showing up may be 90% of the battle, but once you're there, make it count.

3. You Perform Better When It's Fun: Rowing is like surfing. You've got to stay loose to do your best. The best rowers are the ones encouraging each other on even when they want to beat each other. When my daughter found out that her biggest competition would be in her first heat, her reaction was to want to reach out to the other team and say, "let's show them what we've got."

She’s had other kids at school say 'Well, I'm going to get into college on my merits, not on rowing."

What a rotten thing to say, right? And I admit, before I had never appreciated what athletes do to develop that sleepy chilled out demeanor. Now that I have one for a daughter, I see all the hard work, sacrifice and care she puts into her team.

My #33minutes today goes out to my daughter and her team, with a heart full of good wishes for a great race.

For more work by Elissa Ashwood, check out 33 Dresses and Truly Accomplished


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