Winning words

Posted on August 7, 2012

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It seems the entire world is currently gripped by Olympic fever.  I find myself glued to the screens at the gym, swept up by all the excitement and motivated by the guts and glory of these phenomenal sports men and women. From the spectacular opening ceremony through to countless outstanding performances to date, it’s been a golden first week.

So today … top ten steps to think like a winner, behave like a winner and ultimately, BE A WINNER … because let’s face it, we all like the feeling of winning and we all love the brilliant bling of a shiny new medal, regardless of the level we are competing at.

Physical preparation

That extra tenth of a second really can be the difference between being crowned the champion or going home with the wooden spoon. No energy gel can make your body faster or more effective in sport than the best possible training and preparation.

Stretch & flex

Stretching is important, even though we’re all guilty of neglecting it at times, because it reduces your risk of injury and improves your flexibility. When anxiety is high, the muscles tend to get tighter so it’s important to loosen them to keep you calm and in turn, improve your performance.

Fuel your body

Aiming to get the best performance out of your body when you don’t have a nutritious diet is like trying to run your car without any petrol … you may start off fine but eventually you’ll just cut out. Instead, make sure you’re well hydrated and well nourished and you’ll drastically improve your chances of success.

Fuel your mind

A winning mindset is imperative.  Don’t turn up on the start line hoping to win … turn up expecting to win! The power of your subconscious mindset is so strong that truly believing you will win, no matter what the circumstances, will boost your chances of success.

Rest & relax

It’s a common belief these days that overtraining is not such a problem, but rather under-resting is! Resting between training sessions allows your muscles to recover and your body to refuel so it should be considered an integral part of your routine. It all boils down to finding a healthy balance between training and rest.

Rules are rules

If your sport involves a coach or team captain, make sure you listen to their advice. You never know what unexpected situations can crop up in the real game, so be prepared for all eventualities so you can pull something out of the bag last-minute if your opposing team catch you off-guard.

Seek from the stars

Learn what you can from the pros in your sport. Whether you’re a world-class athlete or a novice, sharing tips and tricks with other athletes is enlightening and besides, trying out new techniques is fun. Pick out your favourite stars and find out what gets them motivated? How do they prepare?

Life ain’t a rehearsal

Treat every training session as if it’s the real thing. If you’re lazy when training, you won’t be physically or mentally prepared for your next event. Of course, pushing yourself beyond your limits consistently is a recipe for burnout but push yourself within them and you can keep building on and improving your performance.

Demon determination

The key to winning is not giving up. No famous sporting star has got to where they are today without having to overcome a few hurdles along the way. In fact, this is where sport is a great metaphor for life.  Know anyone successful in life full stop who hasn’t had rough seas to cross to get there? If you keep losing, just try twice as hard!

Magic moments

Perhaps the most important part of winning is really enjoying those magic moments. Learning to truly embrace the moment will spur you on to achieve more. If you stress yourself out about winning, you’ll be full of negative energy. There’s simply no point in excelling at anything if you don’t enjoy it so go out there and give it your best shot!

Finally, here’s to all our Olympians whether they’ve achieved a medal, a final, or just taken part in the greatest show on earth.

And here’s to you … advice above aside, never fail to remember the words of Zig Ziglar …

“Winning is not everything, but the effort to win is.”

PS. I wrote an essay for my Sports Psychology Diploma with the title ‘Is winning everything’ in 2011.  Should it be time for a tea break, read it here!

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