Daylon Daily: Survival Of The Fittest

Renewed focus on senior season


Courtesy of Andy Thill

Hicks prepares to jump during an indoor track meet on Jan. 14 at the Podium in Spokane, Wash.

DAYLON HICKS, Evergreen reporter

As Tuesday rolled around, the thoughts of this practice being my last first collegiate practice did not cross my mind once. I was focused on improving from last year.

My mindset last year was centered around how I compare to other people instead of focusing on being the best Daylon Hicks I can be. With that focus, some expectations were not met and I felt shorthanded.

This year, however, I came in with a different mindset. I wanted to focus on what I can control and given that this practice was a conditioning day, that thought and my father’s teaching of self lingered in my head.

I learned that as a student-athlete, it can be hard trying to juggle aspects of life such as school and sports all at once so I decided to get my work done the day before to strictly focus on practice.

Heading to practice, I felt the radiant and vibrant heat from the sun press down on my skin. During my warmup lap, I felt relaxed and smooth as if my body shed in a new form. While sprinting, I felt explosive and had that quick first step that is important to see where my body is for the day.

While doing the warmup drills, I felt fluid in each drill following the instructions efficiently and learning my lesson last year with my lack of shortcutting drills some days.

A reason why last year did not pan out in my direction was my mentality of shortcutting some drills in practice. Throughout the summer, I primarily focused on pushing myself past that comfort zone and doing a drill one more time even if it felt like my body was going to shut down.

The conditioning phase was the main portion of the workout, but my mindset was treating each section with as much precision and willpower as I could muster.

The first half of the workout was not too chaotic because I still had energy, but the second half with drills such as lunge jumps and core work was where I felt myself breaking down.

The thoughts in my head were fuzzy, I was itchy from the grass and the soreness in my thighs was alarming. I really wondered if I was going to tear a bone in my body because of how much pressure I placed on myself.

The workout was a battle mentally, but high-level focus and not giving in was the essential reason for finishing strong.

At the end of practice, I knew there was much to improve on with posture and form of each workout despite the strain that I was putting on my body. At the end of the day, I felt pride finishing the workout and pushing myself beyond my limits.

The important lesson I learned while going through the practice was that discomfort builds growth. Being uncomfortable only strengthens my mind in the future not just on the track, but in life as well.

The idea of conditioning can be overlooked sometimes because of how much energy I put into each drill, but I’m learning to accept conditioning as a way to grow.

In the end, I won the war and became better from it.