One reason I love watching athletes receive awards is the acceptance speeches. In them athletes thank God, their mom, their Little League coach, their teammates, the fans, and on and on. They express tremendous gratitude to all those who helped them along the way. What if we encouraged athletes to express gratitude more often?
Sports fans witnessed history in this year’s October Classic. The Chicago Cubs broke their 108 year World Series Championship drought. They did so in dramatic fashion and displayed all that we love about sports on the biggest stage in baseball. While there was certainly exceptional play on the diamond, I am most interested in what the Cubs have done behind the scenes to build a championship organization. I believe every team can learn something from how the Chicago Cubs select, train, build, and field their team.
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.