By Sport Fuels Life Contributor, Athlete, and Coach Megan Houston



The rush that you feel when scoring the game-winning goal or hitting a new personal best time in a race are moments that we live for in sports. The joy of celebrating a stellar performance with a team is the reward for hard-earned labor to get to that point. While these moments are fun, we all know that they don’t happen overnight or without a little bit of challenge. That’s what makes them so much sweeter!

This is also called delayed gratification--a concept that many elite athletes and coaches understand and embrace. Athletes must sacrifice to achieve. Many times, the higher the level of play, the longer it takes to reap the reward. It may take a committed athlete a couple of years of steady effort to improve their personal best mark by just one centimeter at a time. 

Putting in dedicated hours of training each week over the course of the season prepares us for optimal performance. It may seem repetitive or can be a grind some days more than others. Keeping the end goal in sight and appreciating the growth process are keys in propelling athletes through the tough times to realize individual and team goals.

As the start of a new season approaches, fall in love with the process of getting better one day at a time, no matter what that looks like. See the big picture and embrace the difficult parts of training as well as the fun parts. It’s a process; fortunately, it’s rewarding and fun! 

Related Quote

As we watch the dynamic play at the U.S. Open’s Arthur Ashe stadium, we are reminded of this quote from the tennis legend and extraordinary individual who inspired so many.  Maybe he too was thinking about delayed gratification.

“You’ve got to get to the stage in life where going for it is more important than winning or losing.”

-Arthur Ashe