A focus on winning will prevent your from achieving your true potential as an individual and as a team and yet you can observe that so many athletes, teams and coaches fall prey to one of the biggest misconceptions in sports.
What sports psychologists and experts on optimal performance already know, does not seem to have trickled down to the ones who would benefit from this knowledge the most.
In order to consistently perform at the highest level as an athlete or team, you need to be absorbed in your own performance and focus on the process itself, with no energy spent on worrying about your competitors or your results.
Dynasties In Sports
The best proof of this are the dynasties in different team and individual sports, e.g. the Chicago Bulls with Michael Jordan & Phil Jackson, the UCLA men’s basketball team under John Wooden, the UConn women’s basketball team under Geno Auriemma, the New England Patriots with Tom Brady & Bill Belichick, Wayne Gretzky, Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, Steffi Graf, Lionel Messi, Muhammad Ali and Michael Schuhmacher, just to name a few. The level of greatness they achieved was not a result of their focus on winning.
Go on, start a little investigation for yourself and take a closer look into the lives of any of these GOATs. Read their autobiographies and books, watch their interviews and the documentaries that were made about them and pay close attention to what they say.
Two Beliefs On Their Path To Greatness - Winning Is Not One Of Them
You will find that these athletes, teams and coaches universally held two beliefs about their potential or the potential of their team:
And then they took action and worked tirelessly on their skills to see how far their efforts would take them.
Correct me if I am wrong, but none of these all-time greats would have ever achieved greatness on such a level if their main focus was winning. And if you listen closely, you will hear that none of them claimed it was.
Coach John Wooden is a shining example of the mindset mentioned above. His coaching philosophy was extraordinary. If you are an athlete and if you have not done so already, I urge you to watch his TED talk about the difference between winning and succeeding, or read one of his books.
Can You Achieve a Similar Level of Greatness?
Theoretically yes, but it is not that simple. Just holding these beliefs will not be enough, they must be a part of who you are as a person and become your philosophy of life. You need to practice them every single day and in anything you do until the end of your days. They cannot just function as a tool in your hopes to become the best in your sport. You need to invest time and effort and fully commit and dedicate yourself to these beliefs. If you do so, you will without a doubt achieve greatness.
Your Own Path to Greatness
Any path to greatness will be filled with various different obstacles but if you don't get distracted by the noise and align your goals of today with the vision you have for yourself for tomorrow, then you are on the right path.
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