How a Balanced Life Can Help Your Performance

You are More than just an Athlete

“Sports is my whole life.”

“I live for racing.”

“Eat. Sleep. Swim.”

Have you ever uttered similar phrases during your athletic career?

Too many athletes define themselves based on their sport. They derive self-worth primarily from their sport. And surround themselves with like-minded teammates who are the source of social interaction.

When an athlete’s life is consumed by their sport, too much rides on their participation and performance, such as:

*Injuries can rip away the sense of who they are.

*Bad performances can feel like absolute and total failure, destroying their self-worth in sports and life outside of their sport.

  • Fear of not living up to the expectations of others can become overwhelming.
  • Worry of losing friends because they advance at a faster rate can impact physical health and mental well-being.

For these reasons, it is critical that athletes are well-rounded and have a balanced life.

You really are more than your sport. Sport is what you do, not who you are.

When you are training and competing, give 100%! When you are finished with your daily practice or competition, leave your sport behind.

Taking a new perspective to the importance of sports can reduce the pressure you feel when competing, improve your health, and IMPROVE PERFORMANCE!

Here’s a little story about how one athlete improved performance and lessened the pressure she experienced by focusing more on her life outside of sport…

Mirinda Carfrae is a triathlete who competes in the Ironman. Ironman is an event that consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike leg and a 26.22-mile run. The Ironman is both grueling and over 7 hours long. The training is even more grueling and time-consuming. Many hours of dedicated training can be life-consuming.

In 2013, Carfrae set the Ironman World Championship course record and has seven podium finishes including winning the event three times. Despite her tremendous success, Carfrae hit a patch where she experienced a sense of staleness. Staleness is a term used to describe difficulty maintaining training regimens or maintaining motivation to pursue personal goals.

CARFRAE: “Prior to having Isabelle, triathlon was my whole world. Early in my career I needed to win to pay the bills, I needed to win to eat. It can be a bit of a pressure cooker.”

Carfrae’s attitude changed after the birth of her daughter and a significant break from competing.

CARFRAE: “I have absolutely loved racing, but prior to having [my daughter] Izzy, it was just getting a bit stale. I took 2017 off. I think that was a welcome shift for me, just having a different outlook. The perspective just shifts. Everyone knows that triathlon is not the most important thing. But once you have a child, you are OK with everything. I don’t stress about the minor things.”

Not only is Carfrae back to competing, she is performing at an elite level again with less stress.

Balance is important in and out of sport. You are more than just an athlete.

By having balance in your life, your performance doesn’t feel like “life or death.”

With the pressure off, you clear the way for performing at your peak.

Living a Balanced Life Beyond Sports:

Remind yourself that you compete for fun and the thrill of competition, not to please others. Also, sport is what you do, it does not and should not define the person you are.

Take a step back and assess the person you are–outside of sports. How would you describe yourself as a person? How do others describe you? These questions help you define your self-concept.

Once you have a well-defined self-concept, and you’re comfortable with who you are, you have self-esteem–no matter how well of poorly you perform!

Related Sports Psychology Articles

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The Relaxed Athlete

Relaxed athlete

The ability to relax and play your game under pressure is what separates the winner from the loser in any competition. Champion athletes train hard in practice, are motivated for the right reasons, and are able to raise their game in crunch-time with two minutes remaining in the game..

A relaxed and confident performance begins in the mind! When you are mentally prepared to compete, you can have an optimal level of intensity AND poise!

The Relaxed Athlete program is ideal for any athlete that wants to overcome pregame anxiety, worry, or excess tension and learn to perform with poise. It’s also ideal for any coach or parent who wants to teach athletes to perform with poise and relaxation in competition.

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