AN ATHLETE is only as good as his training. So athletes train as hard as they can to get the most out of it.

But is training just the physical exercise and drills that they routinely execute every day?

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Most commonly this is how training is viewed. When an athlete loses in a competition most would say, "kulang pa sa training" or "hilaw pa."

Ever wondered what it means? Especially if it is heard from people who know the sport. What they actually want to say is the athlete still lacks one thing: exposure or experience.

While training in the gym, court or field plays a major role in an athlete's performance, the finer points in his maturity as an athlete comes out during clutch time when everything has been thrown and has to bring out his final ace and try to snatch a win.

An athlete's motivation in training sometimes reflects the importance and intensity of the competition ahead. Athletes commonly train harder if the coming competition has bearing. The prestige and dignity of a competition seems to have an effect on an athlete's preparation. The more important the competition the more intense the training and preparation of an athlete would be.

In some sports, like boxing, the amount or intensity of training depends on how the boxer and his camp assess the capability of his opponent. The self esteem of the fighter carries his training up to the level that he feels he needs and is enough to defeat his opponent.

It is all the same in other sports competition where the opponent, an individual or team, is scouted in order to plot the training program to address the possible constraints which would hinder the chances of victory.

The importance of exposure out of the usual environment facing not the usual opponents would enhance the skills of athletes for any competition. Competing against the same people every time would arouse a routine performance which would mean idling of skill enhancement.

This is why coaches and trainers, when preparing for a competition, seek tune up games with a more skilled or higher leveled opponent in the belief that it would help bring out the "A" performance of an athlete to be honed ready for the actual competition it is preparing for.

For comments and suggestions e-mail me at jaysonscorpio@yahoo.com.ph.