Winning the game in your head before real-life

Winning the game in your head before real-life

by Natalie L 18 Feb 2020

In every sports competition, composure is extremely important. You might be the most talented athlete in the world, but you chances of winning will dwindle if you allow yourself to succumb to the jitters. Indeed, sports is as much about attitude as it is about skill. This is why successful athletes focus on more than just physical strength, but being mentally resilient as well. 


Focus on the process

Yes – results are important but so is the process! Too often, athletes become so fixated on the result of their competitions that they overlook the learning opportunities of the training process. Not only is this detrimental to holistic development as an athlete, it can also add unnecessary stress on them as well. In turn, this stress can result in bouts of anxiety or panic attacks prior to competitions, thus preventing them from performing to the best of their abilities. Being invested in the process is crucial in the long run as it helps athletes to truly appreciate their journey and realise the importance of the “how” of training.


Never let fear paralyse you

Always remind yourself of the reason for playing your sport of choice. Is it purely about wanting to win and basking in the glory of being a champion? If you have come to the point where the fear of losing prevents you from putting your all into a game, then you're allowing that emotion to interfere with your ability to excel in that sport. A small amount of fear is healthy as it confirms that you're facing a challenge, and some trepidation is always to be expected when there are stakes involved. It's understandable to not wish to let your teammates and loved ones down but when you let fear become the overarching emotion that governs that line of thought, your willingness to take risks dissolves. Last-minute, desperate and seemingly nonsensical plays have their place in sports, and the bigger picture is never always evident to the players on the field. In that do-or-die moment however, you NEED to be able to act otherwise everything just falls apart.


Play with no regrets

On the day of your competition, you should be able to tell yourself that you have done your best and have no regrets! As long as you gave your best  during your training and left it all on the field during the game itself, there's no reason you shouldn't be proud of what you've accomplished, regardless of whatever the result may be. Play your heart out and enjoy the game for what it is – a competition of skills and wills between two parties that have worked tirelessly to get to where they are! Winning might be important, but enjoying yourself during the process is much more valuable when it comes to promoting your longevity within the sport.


Having the right mindset is key to performing well in sports. It is extremely important to strive to be a winner mentally and not just physically, but this simple fact is often neglected. Ultimately, the attitude cultivated in your sporting experience is what nurtures you to become a better team player, athlete and person.