lance armstrong

Novak Djokovic on Lance Armstrong: “Disgrace for the sport”

Novak Djokovic may have overcome an inspired Radek Stepanek in the third round of the Australian Open to win in three tight sets, but the Serbian’s post-match press conference commentary held an even more captivating story.

Having recently admitted to systematically doping through much of his cycling career, Lance Armstrong has been front and center in the sports world. And everyone seems to have their own opinion of Armstrong, including world No. 1 Djokovic.

“He cheated the sport,” Djokovic said. “He cheated many people around the world with his career, with his life story …  I think he should suffer for his lies all these years.” He continued, “I think it’s a disgrace for the sport to have an athlete like this.”

Djokovic then went on to comment that he has “lost a lot of faith in cycling.” He questioned what other past champions of the sport possibly used performance-enhancing drugs, but also admitted that “there are many cyclists in the world who are training very hard and trying to not use any enhancing drugs for their competition.”

It’s true that cyclists have very demanding schedules, covering hundreds of miles within the span of a few days, and it’s not hard to see why some have been tempted to dope.

But what of tennis? This is also a sport which asks a lot of its athletes physically, so should fans lose faith that the same won’t happen as in cycling?

According to Djokovic, no, “[There have been] one or two cases [of doping in tennis], but those players were more or less outside of the hundred.  We are keeping this sport clean.  We are working towards it.”

He asserts that aside from the standard urine tests for players, blood tests should continue more strictly and be perhaps even increased in number to battle the possibility of doping.

The X-Factor

71642847MC039_2006_U_S_Open What seperates the top coaches from the rest is in what I like to call the “X Factor”. The great ones have it; Brad Gilbert (Andre Agassi), Vince Lombardi (Green Bay Packers), Johan Brunyeel (Lance Armstrong), Michael Joyce (Maria Sharapova), and Phil Jackson (Chicago Bulls), have all been great athletes and top performers in their respective sports. After hanging up their sports shoes, they have taken their talent, and have injected into the players. Yes these coaches have knowledge when it comes to:

– Psychology
– Physical Training
– Strategy
– Technical Advice

But they also have what I call THE X FACTOR!

_41426311_agassi_initialsuccessWhat is the X Factor? In my opinion it is all the non tangible attributes the coach brings to the table. It is the ability to crawl into the athlete’s skin and head, and bring out the absolute best in them. Their charisma draws the attention and respect out of their players and they get them to listen. Their approach to practice is meticulous and they make the training sessions harder and tougher than the actual competitions.

The X Factor also refers to the coaches understanding of what their player goes through physically and mentally. Because these coaches have experienced the ups and downs from their previous careers and endeavors, they know when to be tough on their player and when to back way off.johanb

The top coaches can make considerable impact on the career of the athletes that are so fortunate to come across them. I know I was lucky. Without my coach Lenny Preheim, I would have never done as well as I did in cycling. His words of wisdom and coaching techniques made a significant contribution to my success.