12 Nov Soccer legend Mia Hamm says she punished herself with push-ups every time she missed a shot in training
Former US women’s soccer star Mia Hamm had a unique disciplinary practice when she trained.
Hamm said she forced herself to do push-ups whenever she missed a shot during soccer training.
The punishment is partially inspired by discipline instilled by her family’s military background.
Mia Hamm is a soccer legend.
In 2004, she set the record for most international goals scored by a man or woman ever – a title she held for 9 years, until it was broken by Abby Wambach.
According to Hamm, some unique disciplinary techniques, inspired by her military upbringing, helped her achieve star, record-setting status.
The former US women’s national soccer team legend said she despised push-ups, but she forced herself to do them whenever she missed goals during her training sessions, and the punishment helped hone her focus and discipline as a shooter.
“I really hated doing push-up,” Hamm told Insider. “If I really wasn’t on my game then I’d be doing 30 push-ups or something, and so that really made me focus harder because I knew I just hated them.”
Her push-up tactic helped Hamm save any frustration until after the game
Hamm wouldn’t drop down and do the push-ups as soon as she missed, though. Rather, she kept track of her misses, tallied the push-ups up together, and did them all at once after a training set was over. She did five push-ups for each missed shot, and she took 10 shots in total. She said the most push-ups she ever had to do was 30 after she missed six shots in a set.
For Hamm, this technique – sidelining her frustration until after practice – helped her avoid getting overly frustrated and aggressive, to stay calm even if things didn’t go her way.
“With soccer, sometimes if you try harder it usually doesn’t end well,” Hamm said. “I had to really let go and focus on more technique rather than effort, so for me, it was just about trying to change my aggressive mindset to be more relaxed and calm because that helps you execute better.”
Hamm grew up in a military household, traveling the US and the world
Hamm came up with the push-up punishment herself, and it wasn’t directly influenced by her father or any of her family members.
Still, with a father and both grandfathers in the military, Hamm learned plenty of discipline from an early age, which played into many of her training practices during her career.
As a “Military B.R.A.T.” – the child of someone serving in the US Armed Forces – Hamm spent much of her child traveling as her father, a pilot in the US Air Force, was redeployed across the states, and to Italy.
Discipline and attention to detail were a given in their household until she left home to go to college in North Carolina in 1989.
“The margin for error was not so large,” Hamm, who partnered with USAA this Veteran’s Day for the Honor Through Action campaign, said of her father’s work.
“And that’s what I learned from him – it takes hard work in order to follow your passion, it can’t just be a one-time commitment.”
Push-ups will have helped Hamm in more ways than one
Even though Hamm hated missing shots and the push-ups that followed, she still got the benefits of an effective full-body workout whenever she had to punish herself.
Push-ups can build strength in the triceps, biceps, pectorals, shoulders, and lats, as well as the hamstrings, calves, and quads.
They can also strengthen core muscles, Robert S. Herbst, a personal trainer, previously told Insider.
“They are better than a standard plank because your abs are working in different ways to stabilize your body through shifting angles of effort,” Herbst said.
Read the original article on Insider
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