Game Plans for Success


By three-time Olympian, Ruben Gonzalez

Everyone wants to win.  Wanting to win is not enough.  You have to be willing to prepare to win.  No matter how many times I’ve been to a particular luge track with my team mates, before we train on it we “walk the track” with Coach.  A typical week during the Luge World Cup Circuit is like this:  Tuesday through Friday we take our training and qualifying runs, Saturday and Sunday we race, and Mondays are for traveling to the next track.

Within Europe, we drive from track to track in vans.  For races outside of Europe, we fly.  No matter how long we have been traveling, no matter how tired we are, whether we’ve just ridden in a van for twelve hours from Innsbruck to Sarajevo, or flown ten hours from Europe to Calgary, before we go to the hotel – we walk the track.

We start at the top of the track and for two hours we literally walk down the track, slipping and sliding the whole way, planning exactly what lines we will take during training.  Coach knows the best lines – he was the World Champion three times. Coach knows the shortcut to success.  We follow Coach and take detailed notes on everything he says.

Typically, it goes something like this: “Okay guys, this is curve three.  You want to enter early.  At this point, you want to be no more than three inches from the left wall.  Over here, steer with a force of three (where zero is no steering and ten is all you’ve got).  Down there at the expansion joint give it a five, over there by that sign hold it up, then at the end – crank it with all you’ve got, but remember to counter steer or else you’ll slam into the wall!”

We feverishly write every word he says.  Some of us even tape Coach as he’s talking.  When we finally get to the hotel, we don’t go straight to bed; we memorize the fastest lines and start visualizing our perfect run.

What if on the way to the track I had told Coach, “Coach, I’m not feeling well, will you just drop me off at the hotel?”

You know what would happen?  I’d take a hot shower, get a hot meal, snuggle under the warm covers, watch “Friends” or “Frazier” on TV in Serbo-Croatian while sipping a hot chocolate, and drift into a wonderful night’s sleep, all the while thinking, “Those fools! They’re freezing their rear ends out there!” And then the next day I’d kill myself on the track and have only myself to blame.

Wanting to win is not enough.  You have to prepare to win.  Winners do whatever it takes to get to the next level.  Are you willing to do whatever it takes?  If you’re not, then your dream is a pipe dream.


Ruben Gonzalez is an award-winning keynote speaker and the author of the critically acclaimed book, “The Courage to Succeed.”  His experiences as a three-time Olympian and as the owner of two businesses give him a unique perspective on how to conquer the corporate struggles of today.  For his free 10-Part Success eCourse, visit or contact him at 832-689-8282.


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