I don’t often share my day-to-day life updates with you on my blog. You are likely busy and I highly value the time you invest with me. Therefore, I aim to keep the content power-packed and value added for you.
In today’s athletic environment there are more opportunities to compete than ever before. Who should athletes be competing against? What kind of competition will further their growth and development best? These are the questions parents, coaches, and athletes are facing.
The human body can push further than many athletes realize. Often, the mind gives up before the body shuts down. Some athletes sell themselves short.
Athletes make mental mistakes. Hitters swing at bad pitches. Gymnasts over rotate on tumbling passes. Point guards make bad passes. Linemen jump offsides. We might assume athletes aren’t focused but in reality they are too amped up.
In sports we often ride the tides of emotion from wins and loses. We see this in athletes, coaches, and even fans. For athletes this can be a dangerous way to define success. Seeing success as black and white (wins and loses) creates a fragile sense of confidence and fear-based performance.
Great athletes are competitive. Nothing brings out the best in athletes like tough competition. As the Bible says, “Iron sharpens iron.”
Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” I love this quote. It is a reminder that success comes from doing the little things, consistently, over time. I’ve written before about 11 habits that cultivate excellence, but many people struggle to develop habits in the first place.
You’ve probably heard that we get better at what we focus on. This is why we practice. This is one reason we keep team and player stats. However, showing up to practice everyday doesn’t guarantee improvement. Even working hard is not enough if the focus and intensity of practice is off target.
Athletes thrive on competition. Yet many have a significant fear of failure. It looks different from one player to the next, but the bottom line is that many athletes are risk averse. A basketball player passes up the open shot. A hitter takes the first pitch when the game is close, even though it was right down the middle. Despite their competitive natures, athletes need to foster courage.
Adversity is inevitable in sports. However, as many have said before, our greatest challenge is ourselves. A slump is merely one example of this. For athletes a slump is a downward trend in their performance outcomes. With the wrong mental approach, a slump can feel like a black hole in a player’s career.