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Competitive Lessons from the World’s Best Athletes

Competitive Lessons from the World’s Best Athletes

Original article: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-power-prime/201203/sports-competitive-lessons-the-world-s-best-athletes

Do you know what it takes to be as mentally strong as the world's best athletes?


I define Prime Time as the most important game of your life in which you'll be up against your toughest opponents and competing under the most difficult conditions. Prime Time is what sports are all about. It's the reason why you work so hard on all aspects of your sport. And Prime Time is probably the reason why you're reading my article.

Prime Time is that moment that defines you as an athlete. It shows you and others how skilled you are, how well conditioned you are, and, most importantly, how strong you are mentally. All of my work in the psychology of sport is directed toward your achieving Prime Sport, playing at a consistently high level under the most challenging conditions, in Prime Time.

This notion of Prime Time emerged from my work with one young athlete who was making a difficult, though successful, transition from high-level junior competition to professional sports. What became clear to both of us was that the world's best athletes hold little resemblance to lower-level athletes. Sure, they compete in the same sport and go through the same motions. But what enables them to be at that rarified level goes beyond just exceptional physical ability. The best athletes in the world don't just do things better, they do things differently, particularly those things that occur between their ears. These lessons that we learned together helped this athlete overcome the challenges of professional sports and enabled him to progress up the world rankings. They also taught me lessons that athletes at all levels could use to raise their level of play and achieve their highest level of sports success. These lessons are divided into categories: competitive and mental (I'll discuss the mental lessons next week).

1.  Play to the best of your ability. In any given game, you may not be at your best. You may not be playing that well due to fatigue, illness, injury, or any number of reasons. But whatever ability you bring to the game, you must play to the best of that ability if you have any chance of success.

Emotional Control and Compsure in Sports

Emotional Control and Compsure in Sports

Link to article here: http://www.sportpsychologytoday.com/sport-psychology-for-coaches/emotion...


Do you or someone you know lose emotional control easily in competition? Some athletes lose their composure after they make a mistake, someone on their team makes a mistake, or  the referee makes a bad call.  To gain maximum composure you must accept that you are going to make mistake and experience setback in sports.

When you do make a mistake it is important to have a strategy that helps you regain your composure. You need to be more accepting of mistakes and encourage yourself to move forward – focusing on the next play, shot, race, or routine.

The first step to improving your composure is to identify the mental breakdowns that cause you to lose emotional control in sports. For example, an athlete with very high expectations for his performance is likely to become easily frustrated, lose control emotionally, when he believes that those expectations are not being met.

Below is a list of the top mental errors that cause athletes to lose their composure.

1. Perfectionism — When you don’t perform perfectly you lose composure because you become frustrated and then focus too much on your errors instead of the tasks needed to perform well.

2. Social approval or worrying too much about what others think — Worrying too much or mind reading into how you think others may judge you distracts you from your performance. You lose composure because you are too concerned with how others may perceive your performance.

3. Irrational Beliefs — Irrational beliefs cause you to stay stuck in old, ineffective patterns of behavior.”I will never get a hit,” or “I have to get a hit or everyone will hate me.”

4. Fear of Failure – Fear is based on your intense need to win and causes you to worry too much about losing or failing. This can lead to you play defensive and tentative instead of composed and free.

5. Dwelling on Errors — When you get too caught up in mistakes and dwell them, it becomes easier to get frustrated and lose emotional control, which will not help you stay composed after errors.

We teach our athletes the 3 R’s for composure to help them maintain composure after making a mistake or error.

The 3 R’s for composure stand for: Recognize–Regroup–Refocus.

The first step is to Recognize that you are dwelling on the mistake, which limits your ability focus on the next play.

4 Traits Needed for a Championship Team

4 Traits Needed for a Championship Team

By: Mike Herbert

Two decisions, above all others, await every coach. The first is who the program will recruit to play on the team. The second identifies which players will be selected to the starting lineup.

But these decisions have fallen on hard times recently. Coaches have become overly enamored with the athletic index of their players, choosing to embrace flash over discipline when forming a team. Any coach who understands the full picture of building a winning team knows that developing a player’s abilities on the mental side of the game is just as important as honing their physical skills.

When I say the “mental game,” I mean more than just comprehending game strategy. It may be something as simple as having a player understand the importance of offering a few words of support to a teammate who has just shanked a pass or hit a ball out. I call this a “rescue,” and it’s every bit as significant as a kill, block or ace.

To help you achieve this balanced culture with your team, I’ve compiled a list of 4 types of players you’ll need on your roster and listed key traits that you should cultivate in each of them.


5 Ideas to Develop Relentless Competitors

5 Ideas to Develop Relentless Competitors

By: Jeff Janssen

Tired of dealing with too many wimpy, soft, and entitled athletes who don't know what it means to compete?

Former UConn men's basketball coach Jim Calhoun once lamented after a frustrating loss, "I was embarrassed by the way we played, by the way we didn't compete. We did not compete the way we need to compete. Given the schedule we're playing, you need to compete every single night."

Have you too lost games and championships because your athletes didn't compete with the intensity and intelligence you needed them to?

Coaches are becoming increasingly frustrated and disheartened by the lack of competitiveness shown by too many of today's athletes. With the current culture of entitlement that has evolved and overtaken today's youth, many athletes seem to expect that starting positions and championships will simply be handed to them, rather than working hard and fighting for the very limited opportunities that are available.

As Indiana men's basketball coach Tom Crean says, "In our entitlement culture today, young athletes grow up assuming they deserve things without having to work or compete for them. Then, when they enter the competitive arena, and things don't go their way, they blame someone else for their shortcomings. Such players give a team no chance to succeed."

Taken from my new book How to Develop Relentless Competitors, here are five proven strategies used by legendary coaches Pat Summitt, Geno Auriemma, Anson Dorrance, Pete Carroll, and Roy Williams to transform your passive, soft, and entitled athletes into fierce, focused, and relentless Competitors.

1. Look for Competitors when recruiting and assembling your team.

8 Reasons No One Cares You're Tired: Letter From an Olympian

8 Reasons No One Cares You're Tired: Letter From an Olympian

 Positive Performance Training

Original post



Most of us respond to fatigue by getting frustrated and feeling bad for ourselves. We let our fatigue take us out of our game and into a mindset that isn't helpful to us or our team.

Luckily, I have a few tips you can use to help get out of that destructive thought pattern and back to focusing on becoming the best athlete you can be. It may sound harsh, but here are:

8 Reasons no one cares you’re tired

#1: It’s not about you, so get over it.

The fact of the matter is you play a team game, even if it’s an individual sport, and as a teammate one of your jobs is to serve your team, to do whatever it takes to make the team better. Doing so requires selflessness and a commitment every single day you show up.

An Open Letter to my Previous Coaches & Teammates

An Open Letter To My Previous Coaches And Teammates

To the people who have majorly shaped me without me even noticing.


Original post: https://www.theodysseyonline.com/open-letter-to-previous-teammates

As some of you know, I've taken the fast track through high school. This year, I chose to dual enroll full time at Kennesaw State, rather than finishing out my senior year at Kennesaw Mountain. It was not a choice that I took lightly, but in the end it is a choice I do not regret (so far). However, this choice led me to say goodbye to the sport that has been my outlet for almost all of my life.

Volleyball is a sport that I fell in love with at such a young age. I remember my first year of travel season like it was yesterday. I remember being the little girl watching the older girls play, and wondering how they could jump that high and hit the ball that hard. Suddenly, without me even noticing, I'm that older girl. I can jump that high. I can hit the ball as hard as they did. So as you can imagine, quitting this sport has been very difficult for me. I don't regret it, but it has been difficult looking for other outlets, and writing has been as close as I can get to having something like volleyball, which is why I decided to address this open letter to all of you.

Since I am no longer a player, I thought I would express a few things that are much clearer to me now that I'm a spectator.

It's the oldest line in the book, and some days you may shake your head and wonder why you're in the gym, but do not take your sport for granted. I know there are some days when you walk in the gym and you're just not feeling it, so you go through the motions and do whatever it takes to get you through practice, but don't take for granted the fact that you have something to push yourself through. You won't have volleyball for the rest of your life. Walking into the gym should be like taking a fresh breath of air.

What Will Your Teammates Remember About You 10 Years From Now?

Sarah Pavan

Pro Volleyball Player and Beach Volleyball Olympian

What Will Your Teammates Remember About You 

10 Years From Now?

February 27, 2017

Original Post: http://sarahpavan.com/will-teammates-remember-10-years/


 “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
~ Maya Angelou


When I was a young athlete, I was not a good teammate. I know I was a good kid; I was kind and respectful, I worked hard, and I was inclusive, but when I stepped onto the court or field, the only thing I cared about was winning. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with that; I wish more kids had a never-say-die attitude on the court. My problem was that my extreme competitive nature manifested itself as being very aggressive and sometimes hurtful in my on-court interactions with my teammates.

I had good intentions; my objective was always to inspire my teammates to perform and to encourage them to believe in themselves. Being so young, though, and having never been guided in the proper way to do these things, my words probably had the opposite effect. As I matured, and was exposed to different ways of thinking, I learned how to get the most out of my teammates without getting in their faces and leaving them feeling sad.

5 Tips To Balance Volleyball And School This Season

5 Tips To Balance Volleyball And School This Season​


By Kelli LeGrande |     Sept. 11, 2015, 2 p.m. (ET)

The 6 Critical Qualities of the World's Best Captains


by Jeff Janssen, Janssen Sports Leadership Center

What do the world’s best captains and team leaders all have in common?

Being privileged to work with tens of thousands of the very best captains at our comprehensive Leadership Academies across the world, we get a very special, in-depth view into what makes them tick and what makes them so successful.

Mentally Strong People: The 13 Things They Avoid

Mentally Strong People: The 13 Things They Avoid

-from http://www.forbes.com/sites/cherylsnappconner/2013/11/18/mentally-strong-people-the-13-things-they-avoid/#66cb19fc3934

Editors’ Note: Following the huge popularity of this post, article source Amy Morin has authored a guest post on exercises to increase mental strength here and Cheryl Conner has interviewed Amy in a Forbes video chat about this article here.

For all the time executives spend concerned about physical strength and health, when it comes down to it, mental strength can mean even more. Particularly for entrepreneurs, numerous articles talk about critical characteristics of mental strength—tenacity, “grit,” optimism, and an unfailing ability as Forbes contributor David Williams says, to “fail up.”

However, we can also define mental strength by identifying the things mentally strong individuals don’t do. Over the weekend, I was impressed by this list compiled by Amy Morin, a psychotherapist and licensed clinical social worker,  that she shared in LifeHack. It impressed me enough I’d also like to share her list here along with my thoughts on how each of these items is particularly applicable to entrepreneurs.

1.    Waste Time Feeling Sorry for Themselves. You don’t see mentally strong people feeling sorry for their circumstances or dwelling on the way they’ve been mistreated. They have learned to take responsibility for their actions and outcomes, and they have an inherent understanding of the fact that frequently life is not fair. They are able to emerge from trying circumstances with self-awareness and gratitude for the lessons learned. When a situation turns out badly, they respond with phrases such as “Oh, well.” Or perhaps simply, “Next!”

2. Give Away Their Power. Mentally strong people avoid giving others the power to make them feel inferior or bad. They understand they are in control of their actions and emotions. They know their strength is in their ability to manage the way they respond.

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