The Psychology of Winning – Mindset in Athletics

Alex Ricker-Gilbert

May 11, 2023


Winners create a positive lifestyle that benefits themselves and those around them. They learn that they can achieve whatever they want with effort, patience, and a winning mindset.

Elite athletes curate this mindset for optimal performance, but anyone can use the same mental skills to improve their game. The following are some of the key aspects to winning: 1. Focus on the present.

1. Focus on the present

A winner knows that a good performance depends not only on talent and skills but also on the mind. That’s why they practice mindfulness and focus on the present moment.

They don’t dwell on the past or get too excited about the future. They just take it one step at a time. Then they can enjoy their success NOW.

You can practice living in the present by focusing on daily activities, such as reading or even just writing this article. You can also do meditation and yoga, which help you stay in the moment.

2. Practice self-discipline – Athletics

Many coaches have an office that they call the “discipline office.” In reality, this should be called the “Lack of Discipline Office.” Winners know that self-control is a healthy component of excellence.

Self-discipline starts with changing your self-image. One way to do this is by using visualization techniques and positive self-talk.

Another way is to make changes in your environment. For example, if you want to eat healthier, you might need to get rid of all the junk food in your house. Also, you might want to consider getting an accountability partner to help you stick to your goals.

3. Be honest with yourself

Athletes with a fixed mindset often have trouble dealing with defeat. They also tend to get emotional, compare themselves to competitors and limit their own potential. In contrast, athletes with a growth mindset are open-minded, hardworking and coachable.

The best way to improve your performance is to be honest with yourself. You must know your limits and not push yourself too hard. Otherwise, you might hurt yourself or end up living a life of regrets.

Elite athletes are competitive and ambitious, but they’re also honest with themselves. If you want to become a winner, learn the mindset of an elite athlete and start applying it to other areas of your life.

4. Be open to change – Athletics

Carol Dweck’s research has shown that athletes with a fixed mindset are crippled by failure, while those who have a growth mindset thrive after a setback. Athletes who are open to change are more coachable and have a higher chance of success.

Winners know that whatever fills their mind influences their actions, so they ensure that their minds are filled with positive thoughts about the future (like a golfer envisioning each shot to hit accurately). Winners also take risks, believing that they’ll benefit from any result, even if it isn’t what they expected.

5. Take risks – Athletics

If you want to reach peak performance, you have to be willing to take risks. This is especially true for teen athletes. Teens face unique mental challenges that are different than those experienced by adult athletes.

For example, they may have difficulty letting go of negative self-talk that interferes with their ability to perform. In addition, they may have a fear of failure and lack of confidence in their abilities.

Athletes with a growth mindset recognize that mistakes are essential for learning new skills. They also know that they can develop their skills if they persist.

6. Be a team player – Athletics

It’s no secret that teamwork is crucial to success in sports. While any coach can put together a team of five or nine or 11 people, a strong team only thrives when members understand what it means to be a team player.

Team players encourage one another and help out when needed. They have a positive attitude and are willing to take risks to make the team better. They also know that a little positivity can go a long way when things aren’t going well on the field.

These are just some of the key mindset traits that separate winners from losers. To learn more, download RISE Athletes’ free MindPower Coach eBook.

7. Be positive

We’ve all heard people say things like, “I don’t like their attitude” or, “They need to get a grip.” These types of comments send negative messages to young athletes and can discourage them from trying hard.

Positive thinking is an important skill for athletes to practice and master. It has been shown to improve performance in sports. Researchers have found that positive self-talk can reduce pre-competition anxiety and encourage positive interpretations of symptoms associated with performance anxiety, such as butterflies in the stomach or heightened tension.

The best athletes understand the importance of having a positive mindset and grit, and work on developing it every day. This mindset can help them achieve their goals, even when the odds are against them.