Tony Volpentest set a World Record in the 100 and 200 meters at the Paralympic Games despite being born without hands or feet. You can do amazing things when your truly want something bad enough in life.

I served as Tony's coach (after my good friend Bryan Hoddle no longer coached Tony) when he ran a world best and won the gold medal in the 200 meters at the World  Paralympic Track and Field Championships. Tony overcame huge hurdles in his life to become the fastest runner in the world within his category. Tony really wanted to reach his goals and found a way to win.

How bad do you want your goals?  What price are you willing to pay?  Said another way, "How bad do you want it"?

How Bad Do You Want It?

Running a race in many ways is a battle of the mind.The endurance runner especially asks the question “will I or won’t I” push through the pain in my race today. This question is a recurring theme in every runner’s mind.

The answer to the “will I or won’t I” question determines how well a runner performs. If the answer is yes to pushing through the normal pain of a race, the athlete generally taps into mental and physical  reserves that helps them finish the race well.   

Mental Toughness Under the Microscope

Mental toughness is fascinating to researchers, authors, coaches, and athletes. Entire books are written on the subject. Matt Fitzgerald, an acquaintance of mine, has written a book on mental toughness called “How Bad Do You Want It". Matt’s book explores how to win the mental battle in your mind. His book also looks at some of the world’s best endurance runners and how they push through the normal pain of a race.

How Bad Do You Want It?

One key question that Matt asks in his book is, ‘How Bad Do You Want It?  In other words, how bad do you really want to reach your racing goal?

I’ve seen many athletes with great talent who don’t want their goal bad enough. For example, they don’t practice on a consistent basis, find excuses for not working out, or don’t learn how to run through the normal pain of a tough race.  

On the other hand, I’ve seen many runners with limited talent beat better runners in races even though they were nowhere near as talented. Their mental toughness is off the charts even though they lack the same physical tools of their talented counterparts.

If you want something bad enough in life, you usually find a way to get it or at least come close to hitting your target goal.

Good questions to ask yourself

Are you trying to reach your goal at  the 50 percent level?  Are you giving 75 percent toward your goal or have you made the decision to give 100 percent effort to your goal with the time you have available? 

Many people say they want to reach their goal but few are willing to give it their all. Actions always speak louder than words when it comes to reaching important life goals and dreams.

The phrase “All give some, some give all” is still as valid today as it was decades ago. When you give it your all, you look back in the rear view mirror with no regrets.

In summary, take a close look at how important your goal is to you. Also, make sure you make the appropriate sacrifices along the  journey when going after a big goal. Lastly, ask yourself this question, “How Bad Do I Want It”?


Coach Weber

Philippians 4:13

From "Tony Volpentest, a four-time Gold Medalist and five-time World Champion sprinter, carried the Olympic flame at the 1996 Olympics). He's won numerous honors including the International Olympic Committee President's Disabled Athletes Award, the United States Olympic Committee Athlete of the Year, Sports Star of the Year and was the National Spokesman for Shriner's Hospitals. He's been featured on CNN, CBS, Sports Illustrated, and other national and world media.

You can purchase Tony's book about his life story at Tony describes his struggles, accomplishments, and heartaches along his journey. He also talks about some our joint adventures in promoting the world Paralympic movement.