The words
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Reflecting on a surprise victory that led to him becoming world champion in 2019, ambitious 22-year-old German decathlete Niklas Kaul is still hungry for more. Here are the three words that define success for him.

1. Dedication

I love sport. If you love something, it’s very easy to dedicate the majority of your life to it, isn’t it? In my case, it’s decathlon.

Of course, dedication alone isn’t enough to keep your performance consistently at such a high level. For me, it’s important to set ambitious but achievable goals, as well as to have fun in what I’m doing – and both elements keep me motivated.

…but just imagine your goal is to perform at the Olympics, in that case you must be able to be focused and motivated over three to four years, and that is extremely challenging. My devotion to sport, and my willingness to dedicate my time and energy to something that I really love and enjoy, helps me to do so.

2. Variation

Variation in life is very important to me. Doing the same thing over and over again, every day, would be too boring. It’s only when you change things and break out of your routines that you are able to explore something new.

Every day is different for me, it’s a mixture of many things: studying at university, meeting with family and friends as well as my training. Even my training is quite diverse, thanks to decathlon. There are 10 disciplines which I have to practice, which means every training session is different.

3. Trust

Trust in your training group, your coach and your own abilities is absolutely essential.

Let’s start with my training group. If you have a bad day, you can be sure that someone is supporting you and pushing you through your training. If you are alone, you might have already given up. It’s also important to have like-minded people around you to talk about things which you don’t necessarily want to share with your coach.

Second, 100% trust in your coach is vital, and that trust has to be mutual. For example, if I don’t feel well I’ll let the coach know, not because I’m lazy and would like to avoid a hard training session, no – just because I trust them, and that they know what to do to maximize the training output by not risking any injuries.

Last but not least is trusting yourself and having faith in your capabilities, especially during the competition. It doesn’t matter if it is the World Championship or a small regional event, you can reduce any pressure if you stay focused and confident.

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