Athletes Who Are Stuck in a Training Mindset

facing adversity

How to Develop a Competitive Mindset

What is a competitive mindset? Can you learn to develop a competitive mindset? Two mindsets are important for your success. The are: the training mindset and the competitive mindset.

These mindsets are characterized as:

1. The training mindset consists of improving the fundamental aspects of your sport. The training mindset is seen as a time to analyze mechanics, work on tactical skills and develop physiological capacities through drills and repetition.

2. The competitive mindset is the attitude you want during competition, such as performing athletically, competing aggressively, having a laser focus or being resilient.

One of the challenges for athletes is to not get stuck in the training mindset especially when they compete…

If these two mindsets are necessary, then how is a competitive mindset developed?

Some athletes believe the competitive mindset cannot be learned. That is, the competitive mindset is a trait- Either you have it or you don’t.

This “either-or” belief is false. You can develop your mindset just like any other skill.

So how do you develop the competitive mindset? The answer is in training sessions and practices!

If you are not training a competitive mindset in practices, you will not have an elite competitive mindset in competitions.

*If you are not laser focused in training, you will not be laser-focused during competitions.

*If you are not working to be resilient in training, you will not bounce back from adversity in competition.

* If you play it safe in scrimmages, you will not be aggressive in competition.

You are a product of your training. You need to train your competitive mindset in practices, so you can rely on that mindset when you compete.

As the U.S. women’s national soccer team continues its preparations for the Tokyo Olympics, the younger players are learning how to develop their competitive mindsets from their veteran teammates.

US midfielder Samantha Mewis has learned a lot from teammate Carli Llyod on how to build a competitive mindset.

MEWIS: “I feel like as a young player coming on this team, [Carli Lloyd] set such a good example of just the way to take good care of yourself, to be a true professional and to really just not take no for an answer, to just put yourself out there all the time, be a little bit unapologetic about what you want and what you’re willing to do to get it.”

Mewis has witnessed the years of success by the USWNT and wants to replicate the same competitive mindset.

How you perform is the result of your training. If you want to compete at a high level under pressure, then you must pay attention to training your competitive mindset in practice.

For example, gymnasts call it doing pressure sets in practice. Dancers and figure skaters do dress rehearsals.

Developing a Mindset for Competition:

You start by working on your competitive mindset in practice. Teams scrimmage. Athletes do dress rehearsals and pressure sets to replicate competition.

Next, you have to remind yourself that all your practice and training is complete when you enter competition. Now is a time to get the job done with the skills you have!

Think about performing athletically and intuitively. You are not performing mindlessly–instead you trusting your motor memory and reacting to your environment or the routine in your mind.

Coaches and teammates will be happy with your performance when you perform aggressively and take risks–even when you might lose.

Related Articles on Mental Game:

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