Phelps’ Response to a Devastating Loss
Have you suffered a tough loss in your career?
Maybe it was a loss where you were favored to win or against an opponent that has never beaten you, or against a challenger with a much lower rank.
Can you think of your own personal athletic experience where you suffered a loss when you were expected to win?
How did you feel after that upset?
How long did it affect you after that uneventful competition?
Some athletes are never the same after being unexpectedly defeated…
The negative emotion experienced by these athletes takes away their mental edge…
They lose their training intensity and no longer approach competitions with the confidence and positive mindset that has aided them achieving great success within their sport.
How can you maintain your mental edge after a devastating loss?
This is where sports psychology can provide athletes with solutions. With the proper mental training, you can use devastating losses as fuel or motivation rather than a negative memory that crushes your.
Michael Phelps is historically the most dominant swimmer ever to compete.
Phelps has been dominant in the sport of swimming (39 world records, 22 Olympic medals including 18 gold medals) since he burst on the scene as a teenager.
With his recent qualification for the 2016 Rio Olympics, he has become U.S.’ first five-time Olympic male swimmer and the oldest U.S. male swimmer to make the Olympic team.
But Phelps’ career is not without blemish…
After a loss in the 100m butterfly to Ian Crocker in the 2003 World Championships, Phelps taped a picture of Crocker on a wall to use it as daily motivation.
Phelps’ response to that devastating defeat provided him the mental edge to win gold medals in the 100m butterfly in the next three Olympic Games (2004, 2008 and 2012).
Even more devastating was the loss suffered by Phelps in the 2012 Olympics in his signature event, the 200m butterfly.
Phelps had won 60 straight 200m butterfly events over a nine-year span until the London Olympic Games when he was upset by South African Chad le Clos by .05 of a second.
Phelps’ response to this devastating loss was initially different from his reaction to his 2003 loss.
PHELPS: “I was so anti-watching that race, because I just didn’t even want to bring up the memories.”
Recently reinvigorated, Phelps watched the race and studied what he could do differently to gain that mental edge and regain his title.
PHELPS: “I noticed a lot that I did in that race that I’m not going to do again. I think I’m a lot more prepared this time.”
Phelps recently made a “statement swim” at the 2016 Olympic Trials winning the top spot in 200m butterfly.
A loss can be a great motivator to become committed to improving your performance if you choose to respond positively.
Tips for turning a loss into motivation to succeed:
You should never passively respond to a loss. If you do, negative emotions will haunt your mind and take away your edge.
Instead, make a conscious choice to learn from a loss. Ask yourself, “What can I do differently? Train harder? Improve my reaction time? Work on my tactics or strategy? Strengthen my mental game?”
Make a mental contract with yourself to come back physically stronger and mentally tougher after an unexpected loss.
If you need help with the mental toughness part, we are just an email or phone call away. Call 888-742-7225 for details about our mental coaching programs.
The Confident Athlete CD and workbook program can help you learn how to be more proactive with your confidence:
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No matter ow positive you try to be, are you unable to shake the doubt that rushes into your head when you size up your competition?
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This workbook series was designed for coaches and mental coaches to use with their athletes.
The Athlete’s Mental Edge workbooks complement your existing mental training program. Each of the 15 workbooks in the Athlete’s Mental Edge System teaches your athletes a specific mental skill to improve their performance.
For mental coaches, this system is ideal for between session education.
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In the Athlete’s Mental Edge workbook system, you receive 15 easy-to-read, practical Mental Edge Workbooks on PDF, as well as 16 coaches’ game plan MP3 audio files.
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~Tony Melito, MGCP
Boost Your Self-Confidence And Focus With Expert Mental Game Coaching!
Master mental game coach, Dr. Patrick Cohn, can help you or your athlete(s), ages 12 and up, overcome mental game issues with personal coaching.
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