It is always fascinating to get the season started and see which teams and athletes have what it takes to be successful. In the off-season athletes are trained physically and tactically, but when the grind of the season begins, the mental warriors – those who have the “IT” factor - are the ones who will gain an edge on their competitors. It is true that you can be athletic and succeed, but in pressure situations the ones with an edge will come out on top. This is what it takes to become a mental warrior and have that “IT” factor.
1. Mental warriors are confident
Do you notice the players who come to a game like they own the place? The ones ready to give it all they have. These athletes simply announce their presence by being in attendance. They have worked hard to get to where they are, and they know they are good. Elite athletes carry themselves on and off the field with an engaged and focused body language - shoulders back, chest out, and head up. They are not looking for the next problem, but are looking for the next challenge. Those looking for the next problem doubt if they can succeed – those who have the “IT” factor know they can succeed.
2. Mental warriors commit to daily improvement
Every year, at the beginning of a season, my appointment schedule is packed with athletes, with the best of intentions, trying to set goals because they have been told to set goals for their seasons. That is what the great ones do, right? Not really. Those who have the “IT” factor have a vision, but they commit to continual improvement each and every day, working toward the vision that they have for their overall performance. By focusing on how they can get better daily, they allow themselves the room to grow in ways that may not have seemed possible before.
3. Mental warriors face failure
Who enjoys losing? Let’s face it – losing stinks. No way around it. What differentiates those with an elite mindset from the other athletes is how failure is faced, managed, and rebounded from. It’s important not to fear failure, but if it occurs know you will grow from it. Many fear failure and are motivated to avoid it. Those with the “IT” factor dominate those afraid to fail because their motivations are focused on the goal of the game – to win!
For more information on how to find your “IT” factor and dominate this season, come see us at The MindSide.
Meighan Julbert, MS, is a mental skills consultant for The MindSide, a sports and performance psychology group in Birmingham, Alabama. At the MindSide, Meighan works with athletes, coaches and teams across a variety of sports on developing the athlete’s competitive mindset. To work with her go to www.themindside.com or call 205-492-0234. Follow us on twitter @themindside and @meighanjulbert.