Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson
"Follow your dreams, do what makes you happy and do it well."
Living the dream
When I was younger I always wanted to be a policeman or to teach sport to children. There’s a part of me that would still love to do either of these but my biggest dream was always to become a professional athlete. You could say I’m extremely happy with how things worked out but it definitely took a lot of hard work and sacrifice.
Being a top level athlete there’s so many different thing to consider. Hard work is obviously important, but you also have to listen to your body. There is no way you will be able to perform your best in a game if you are not well rested. Part of being an athlete is looking after your nutrition, this can be hard when you’re travelling a lot. This comes down to preparation. You’re only going to make improvements if you plan your nutrition and training for each day. I’m 36 years old and i’m still looking for ways to make improvements. Once you have all the training planned out it’s just about doing the work. Plan your training so it’s lots of regular improvements each and every day then it won’t look like one long impossible journey. At the moment part of my plan is to start training with a track and field coach in Iceland and I’m really excited. I think this is going to change and improve how I’m able to perform.
The beauty of sport is that we are all human and not machines. We are all prone to making mistakes and sometime it’s hard to stay motivated when the excitement of a match has passed. There are definitely days when you don’t feel mentally or physically 100% but you have to be professional and find ways to get ready to perform at the highest level. It’s all about being prepared for these situation and remembering why you love doing this and the people around you that help you to keep pushing forward. I have faith in all the hard work I put in with training and I believe in myself. Your teammates are going to be just as tired, so sometimes the only difference is how much you want it. You have to be willing to outwork all the other players who are battling for a place on the team.
Staying positive is just as important in a game as it is in training but during a match it can really make a difference. You have to understand that mistakes will happen and that if you don’t think positively you won’t be able to change the way you’re playing. I like to think of my happy place, just like in the movie Happy Gilmore. If things are going bad for you in a game you can either choose to focus on that or you can be positive and visualise making good decisions. This is how I like to make sure I stay positive. I’ll visualise my next shot scoring a goal or being in the correct position to help the defense.
One of the toughest things for any athlete to handle is being injured and I found this particularly hard. I was once injured for 10 months and not able to do anything. I love to be active so this was incredibly difficult not just for me but also for my family. It’s all about staying positive and if I wasn’t upbeat and didn’t work hard then I would never have come back to make it into the Icelandic team.
I’ve had the honour of playing with some of the greatest players in the world and I’m very thankful for this. I don’t think I could choose just one moment as my favourite because I’ve enjoyed it all. However being able to say that I’ve had a long career playing for the Icelandic National team will always be something that makes me incredibly proud.
Being successful is very important but for me I also want to be there for my teammates and help them achieve their goals. By the time I stop playing I want people to remember me for being a good guy just as much as a hard, honest worker. I really appreciate integrity in sport and want people to see that in the way I play and also how I help others.
The best advice I have ever received was to work hard and to not let anyone tell you that you cannot do something. Always make sure you enjoy the journey no matter how difficult it may be. If you believe in yourself and work hard it will all be worth it in the end.
Follow your dreams, do what makes you happy and never stop pushing.
By Gudjon Valur Sigurdsson
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