How to stay motivated

Dan Hulme

Motivation is a tricky one and it always goes back to that age-old saying: “if it was easy, everybody would be doing it”. When it comes to motivation, there was one ambassador we were keen to hear from: Dan Hulme, England and Arsenal Beach Soccer. Dan is known for waking up early, training hard and juggling priorities. Here he talks about what gets him out of bed every morning:

“I do love to be beside the seaside… except when it’s 2 degrees, covered in seaweed and a dog has run off with your ball…

Playing a ‘beach’ sport and living in England comes with some very distinct pros and cons. The huge positive is that you get the opportunity to travel the world to play as our climate does not lend itself to attracting the best teams in the world. The drawback, however, is when you have to train and it is the middle of winter, it’s dark and the tide is coming in… it can be really tricky to stay motivated.

There are three key motivators to help get up and train.

The first is: once you’re up and out, it doesn’t matter how stressful or hard the day ahead may be, you’ve already achieved something that is helping you towards your goals. Not to be too cliché about it, but waking up to the sunrise each morning really does help (as does the uncommonly nice autumn and winter we’ve had this year where more often than not there actually is a sunrise!).

The second is fear – that’s the fear of missing out or fear of regretting not giving yourself the best chance to succeed. I have been incredibly fortunate with the opportunities I have had and this is hugely aided by an amazing family and group of friends (especially when they turn up unannounced at the beach). However, I am a firm believer of putting yourself in the best position to take advantage of these opportunities. For me they far outweigh the struggle of getting out of bed an hour earlier every morning.

The third and probably most powerful driver is winning. It is so true that there are few better feelings than winning. This isn’t necessarily winning trophies or plaudits (although they are certainly a nice to have); it is winning against yourself and winning the daily battle between “maybe tomorrow” and “let’s do it today”.

I’m sure a number of athletes have said this, but it was Bradley Wiggins who said about his training (helped by the dawn of social media) that every morning he purposefully gets up at 3:57am ready to train, just because his closest rival wakes up and posts a picture of himself on social media about to set off at 4am. He therefore gets up three minutes earlier and although those three minutes may not make a huge difference in terms of physical conditioning, mentally it gives him the edge – “I’m prepared to go that little bit deeper”. When sport comes down to those few millimetres, or seconds, it’s that mental toughness that can and will invariably pull you over the line.

With beach soccer, it is much more a team game and so this mental battle isn’t necessarily with an individual, but more so with the whole of the opposition or even a team mate that is pushing for your spot. I know that if I train every day, whilst he’s taking a break through the winter, I’m already three months ahead. So when it comes to the season, there is no need to warm up – it’s business as usual.”

Thank you, Dan. We are proud to support you! If anybody feels motivated to get up, get out and get active, please share any pictures or stories by tagging us on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter or by using the hashtag #shepwaysportstrust.