Think like a Champion

Posted by on March 23, 2009 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

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There are probably as many reasons for entering sports events as there are competitors in every event.  But there is only one reason why athletes at any level get up every morning to train – they have somehow become “addicted” to pain.  Whether we win, or just finish, that pain is relative but definitely there!  For some it is excruciating, and for others it can be better defined as “discomfort”.

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This goes absolutely against the grain of every other decision we as humans make in our lifetime.  If you think back on all the choices and decisions you have ever made, they were all based on one question.  “Will this result in pain or pleasure?”

Everyone is programmed, from birth, to avoid pain and to experience pleasure.  And hence we ask ourselves this before we embark on anything.  “Will this choice lead to pleasure or pain?” 

We know this because the first time you burnt your hand on a hot stove you did it on purpose!  After all, your mother told you on countless occasions to “Get away from the stove!” but yet you persisted.  You did this until, one day you snuck under her radar and placed your hand on the hot stove plate.  The result:  pain, tears and more pain as you got the hiding of your life.  You never did it again though…

As we mature, we discover something called delayed gratification.  Generally this means that we will become comfortable with experiencing a fair degree of pain or discomfort if we know that by doing so we’ll experience pleasure at some time in the future.  So when we are faced with the “painful” choice of going training on a cold winter’s morning, we do one of two things:  we kill the alarm, turn over and go back to sleep; or we get up quickly, get dressed and before we know it we’re out on the road, in the pool, or cruising along a trail.

You see, we have two choices:  1) Our mental make up and attitude controls us, or, 2) We control our mental make up and attitude towards our own performance.

Through this column, we’ll develop your performance mind set – something I like to call “Performatude”.  In each edition, I’ll answer your questions, address your concerns and give you the tools all athletes crave, but only the very elite can afford.  I’ll teach you how to flex your mental muscle and how to improve your times and performance.  I’ll show you how you can take control of your mental make up.

In working with one of South Africa’s top rugby teams, we have improved their performance to a win/loss record this year of 14/3.  They have been consistently ranked in the country’s Top10 schools sides since I started working with them 3 years ago.

So, to get you off to a flying start, here are four tips to get started:

1.       Want to feel really great about yourself? Want to add some powerful energy to your life today? Then do something that demonstrates your confidence in yourself.  Make commitment today to a particular event.  Enter!

2.       Tell everyone you can that you’ve entered and what your goal is. For example a sub 3 hour Argus.

3.       Give energy and positive focus to your actions by taking them boldly and confidently.

4.       Develop a personal mantra.  Because your mind can’t tell the difference between what’s real and what is imaginary, whatever you tell yourself often enough, you will become to believe.  My mantra while training goes something like. “Everyday, in everyway, I’m getter better and stronger.”

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