Ben Karpinski: What rugby can teach us about getting our game on

On the cusp of the new season, rugby players have little time in indulgence in the wishful thinking of New Year resolutions. They’re too busy getting in shape and making sure their hearts and minds are ready for the challenges that lie ahead. Have you got Your A-game on?

By Ben Karpinski*

Right now, South Africa’s top locally based rugby players are going through the blood, sweat and tears of pre-season training. As physical exertion goes, it doesn’t get much tougher than this, as  they build themselves up for the season ahead. Getting their bodies and minds into peak condition, they prepare themselves for whatever challenges lie ahead on the field of play.

Us mere mortals, well we do New Year’s Resolutions. They last a few days, and then go on living our everyday lives in the same manner as previous years.

What if we changed that? What if we approached the year ahead in the way rugby players do? What if we set out to really work out what we want to do in 2018, what we want to achieve and how we intend going about it?

Sounds easy enough, so let’s do it. Going into the rugby season, a team will have goals in mind. Winning games and getting the most out of their squad is central to this, so they assess their fixtures and work out which players will be used to get the best results. These players in turn are conditioned accordingly, and incorporated into the plan and strategy.

Read also: Ben Karpinski: The power of winning ugly, in rugby & in life

As for us, we have a few more elements at play, s we try and balance our professional and personal lives. Let’s start with the professional side of things. You may want to get a new job this year. Great, what are the steps involved here?

Getting your CV together, getting more proactive on LinkedIn or actively contacting recruiters. You need to get all those elements in motion here at the start of the year rather than just saying ‘I’ll get to it once I get back to work.”

The thing that happens when you ‘get back to work’ is that suddenly you are busy with a whole host of things that will take you away from your bold new intentions and resolutions. So if you haven’t already put things into practice before the grind returns, you aren’t suddenly going to do them when the time is right.

Same goes for exercise. We would all like to do more each year, but then after the ‘new year, new me’ moment of the holidays, you are back into the Monday to Friday slog of work and day to day life. If you get cracking with things early on in the year though, well then you will have found a way of making it a part of your day to day activities so the chances of maintaining it is good.

Read also: Ben Karpinski: It’s time to change the way we play rugby to win

The things that stand in the way of us making progress are our feelings that we can’t do things. But with a ‘pre-season’ where we make the most of the start of the year to get into good habits and practices, we can weather the challenges, and deal with change accordingly as we are prepared and better conditioned than previous years.

The summer days are still nice and long, the workload not as hectic as it will in a month or two, so get a little ‘pre-season’ going in your life. You’ll be amazed how much more organised and productive you will be even by the time your favourite rugby team begins their Super Rugby campaigns in the middle of February.

Think of your year ahead, what you want to achieve and do better, and start conditioning yourself for these goals today.

  • Ben is a freelance sports writer, MC and offers sports related content campaigns for brands. He is also the sports guy on Gareth Cliff’s morning show on where he gets the freedom to air his sporting views and ‘insights’.
  • This article first appeared on the Change Exchange, an online platform by BrightRock, provider of the first-ever life insurance that changes as your life changes. The opinions expressed in this piece are the writer’s own and don’t necessarily reflect the views of BrightRock.
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