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Developing the right mindset for success

Published: 
Sunday, July 15, 2018

“He can do it to near perfection in training but in the actual game, he struggles to really live up to expectation or deliver when needed.”

How often have we come across situations like that when an athlete who possess all the ingredients but somehow manage to put it all together for the performance that will really bring success.

Research continues to show that performance anxiety continues to be a problem as athletes put too much energy into winning but not enough into developing a winning attitude.

Too much emphasis on winning creates fears and nervousness about not winning.

This fear, in turn, tends to hurt the athlete’s performances and hinders their ability to play to their full potential. Belief plays an integral role here even before you put on a winning performance.

Have you reached a point where you feel you are not improving? Has it been some time since you felt like you performed at your personal best? While hitting a plateau in improvement is inevitable, your attitude can play a huge role in your ability to continue to improve beyond that point.

Recall the period when you first took up your challenge whether it be a sport or some kind of task or training regime.

You found passion in it and satisfaction with the conclusion of each effort. Every person in fact athletes of every sport will experience some degree of exponential improvement initially. Big gains, fast. There’s no better feeling in the world. And staying in a positive environment will only help. The positive feedback feeds your motivation, dedication, and consistency. And those are exactly the feelings that get you hooked!

Setbacks will happen; everyone experiences setbacks from beginners to pros. They can be circumstantial such as injuries and illness or the plateau in improvement where it seems like you’re doing everything right but not getting better. Having the right mindset- one that is focused and positive- is key to overcoming setbacks.

Having the right attitude can make adversity just a little easier to overcome. These tough circumstances are sometimes out of our control but our attitude is something that can be controlled. It’s unrealistic for an athlete to expect a world-class performance every time they compete. But always having a positive attitude in sports and giving a good effort can take an athlete a far way in sports and in life.

Let’s take a look at Croatian footballer Luka Modric, a player with all the assets who set goals of achieving greatness. Disappointed with his personal performances in Brazil four years ago, Modric decided that more needed to be done in order for more to be achieved. He believed that he could go further and we’ve seen evidence of it in Russia. He wanted to go further and surpass the Croatian “Class of 1998” that first inspired him as a boy. Today he’s in the World Cup Final in Moscow.

“He’s the engine that makes us go,” Croatia manager Zlatko Dalic said. “He’s also a captain who leads by example. He always gives his maximum, sets high standards with his attitude, aggression and energy on the pitch, and with his behaviour off it.”

Modric said he remained positive after his first season at Real Madrid that didn’t go all according to plan.

“I never doubted myself, I knew I would succeed in Madrid, but since I did not have a preseason and I came to a club that from the first day wanted me to be at a high level...the demand was incredible. I knew I was going to suffer a little, that I would not be able to demonstrate what I showed later. But I also enjoyed these moments because when I face difficult things, I can’t stop believing in myself. The situation at the beginning made me learn a lot and helped me for the future,” Modric said.

We can take something out of his approach.

If you’re an athlete or simply enjoy competitive sports, developing a positive mental attitude can help give you an edge. Stay focused and practice positivity.

Shaun Fuentes is a media trainer, coaching athletes how to present themselves before cameras and how to handle the microphone. He has travelled for work in over 75 countries and was a FIFA Media Officer at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. He also serves as a CONCACAF Competitions Media operations officer.

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