Sports Coaching: "The 10 medals I brought home…”

This post is written by the Spanish Elaia Torrontegi, member of the Spain Taekwondo National Team,and will help us to understand that often to not win a medal does not mean “to lose”.  Maybe, we ultimately won much more than we first thought. ESPAÑOL



Elaia Torrontegi Ronco has participated in many world championships: European championships, Universiadas, world cups – and most of the events.

Presently, she combines her training with one of her passions: Coaching.   As she explains, with the distinct passion always evident when we talk with her:  “Coaching can be applied to athletes, coaches and teams and the objective will always be the same:  to get the best from you”.

Trawling through the Internet in the “Coaching for Coaches” blog, we found a great post written by Elaia.  We present it to you as we consider it a great contribution, as well as step towards understanding the efforts, disappointments and dreams of athletes:


2014-01-15_73713x_Elaia-Torrontegi_IMG_2731-e1389756391491“That´s it. It is over.

I remember taking the helmet off and the time stopped for a few seconds.  Again, I have just lost again with the same Korean that two years ago beat me, too; the same that would become World Champion again this year…

World Champion…wasn’t I supposed to be the one here?

Such a challenge does not come up overnight.  It is not something that can be achieved easily and quickly; at least, not for most of the mortals.  Those of you who read the post “The Strength of the Vision” know what I am talking about. The dream is born within you and you have to work for it day in and day out, and becomes so motivating, that once you start the “walk” towards it, it may be years and years before you get it.  When you set such a great challenge in your life, the commitment and effort are huge.  It means work and sacrifice along with an extraordinary will power and motivation.

What happens then? After working so hard, training so hard and fighting to reach your goal,  on the “X Day”, or in the “Y moment”, you are not able to get your dream, your goal?  I will not lie to you:  it hurts.  Not being able to get something that is so close and lose the opportunity to get it, it is something painful, it hurts so badly.   I would also lie to you if I told you that everything was for nothing.  It is true that there was pain and a sense of emptiness.  Yes, there was and a lot!    It was long, weeks, before I could get rid of those feelings and took me months to be able to see the video recordings of my combats.

However, it would be unfair to me to limit my truth to that perspective.  It would be like limiting all the experience and my past life to a mere result, that, at the end, wasn´t up me exclusively.

On the contrary, during the long time I was striving to reach my goal, I found out a great competitor within me, someone with essential competences to win.

1.        Discipline:  it helped me to follow my daily plan, training programs, nutrition strategy, and tactics in order to reach my goal.

2.        Will:  it helped me to continue working when the lack of oxygen in the altitude training sessions made a dent in me.

3.       Peace of mind:  to cope with the muscular injury I suffered two weeks before the championship.

4.        Illusion:  to face in a positive way the days in which the fatigue was a burden in the training sessions.

5.        Fellowship:  encouraging and being encouraged by my teammates; helping and sharing good and bad feelings.

6.        Tenacity:  in order to reinforce my weaknesses, correct errors and strengthen my positive assets.

7.        Humility:  to learn from the best athletes, from my teammates and from my coaches.

8.        Strength:  to overcome each of the obstacles I found in my path, in and out of the training sessions.

9.        Concentration:  to be able to focus and do not allow news, external factors and sensitive personal issues to influence in the quality of my training.

10.      Motivation:   to wake up every day with energy and desire to cope, to learn, to improve and to become worthy of winning the medal.

It would be unfair to tell you that after great effort, commitment and sacrifice I got back home with empty hands.  Because when you work hard to achieve a goal, whether you get it or not, the transformation you suffer in the process, the new version of yourself puts you in a higher level than the one you were before you started.   In order to overcome different huge challenges, you need to create a new version of yourself, a different and improved version of yourself that will generate changes in all the aspects of your life, not only in the sports one.”

This post it is not about winning or losing; it is not about hanging a medal around your neck or about the hopeless abyss of the fall when you don´t get it.   The question here is not if your dream has come true or not, if you become champion or not. The true question:   is who you become in the process of pursuing that dream.”


Elaia Torrontegi, TCE Team

Free translation by MasTaekwondo Team

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