The emotional battle in sports is one of the most challenging events among athletes. Here, athletes are up against their opponent and team and also themselves. One emotional struggle that many athletes experience is the struggle with worry. The act of worry divides an athlete's full focus from the present task, therefore, depleting their focus in performance and their productivity outside of it. In fact, worry is such a strong emotion that it is also responsible for robbing many from experiencing enjoyment in their daily lives outside of sport.
This past weekend Kira Lewis won the biggest contest of her young career thus far taking home 1st place at Worlds in Mexico! Kira has worked tremendously hard this year on her mental game and has been put to the test countless times. Winning the biggest event of the year in Wakeboarding was a result of consistent sacrifice in her training and in her dedication to becoming the best.
This past weekend Alex Powell of Energy Corse finishes the season with the biggest win of his career to date. He captured the 2019 Rok Superfinal Championship in Italy. There were over 130 drivers in the field and Alex was mentally put to the test, battling it out with other drivers all the way through the final moments of the last lap. This marks Alex's final race in the MINI Rok series where he now graduates to the Junior Rok.
In sports as in life, people admire success. Often times success even becomes a measurement tool for one's overall self-worth in the world.
Unfortunately, this misinformed infatuation by society has lead to many athletes and individuals feeling unhappy and even as a failure when they fall short of reaching society's standard of success. More specifically, what I've encountered at SPMI is that the struggle of chasing success begins at a young age when the athlete starts gaining attention and recognition from his or her coaches, parents, team, and anyone around the sport.
One of the greatest mental battles athletes face is the ability to stay motivated and not give up when times get tough. Too often, athletes find themselves training less. One reason for this is due to a major shift in the athlete's perception of training and their goals.
This unproductive pattern looks something like this:
SPMI Athlete Tom Lewis wins in dramatic fashion yesterday, winning both the 2019 Korn Ferry Tour Championship by 5 strokes while finishing off with a score of -23 (68-66-66-65) In addition to winning the championship he also earned his first PGA Tour Card! Now Tom has both European and PGA status, allowing him to compete against the best golfers on the planet. Tom has been working hard with SPMI since early last year on his mental game and mostly trains via 1-on-1 mental training when traveling and face-to-face in person when in Miami, FL.
One of the most important habits that we work on with athletes at SPMI is developing success by compounding mental toughness. Many athletes get caught up in the comparison trap where they look to see what their peers are doing and then replicate their training approach to the sport. Now in rare cases one of their peers could be exceptional among their training habits to where replicating them is beneficial to reaching their full potential.
Wanting to know more is a normal part of human behavior and is also a defense mechanism of the brain. This is why many athletes find it so difficult to perform well under pressure. Especially, during those moments when athletes feel like there is something more to lose. But almost every athlete who struggles with pressure also practices this one bad mental habit that keeps them mentally trapped. This habit is wanting to know more.