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A Positive Mind

Updated on August 5, 2017
Purches Power profile image

Purches Power is a competitive, drug-free bodybuilder and a qualified gym instructor with a diploma in Sports Psychology.

A Positive Mind

The benefits of a positive mind for the athlete are many but ultimately it can be the difference between failure/defeat or success/win, its summed up best with the phrase...

“ the body will achieve what the mind believes”

While it cannot be quantified a winning mind can add a good percentage to an athletes arsenal and increase chances of success in training and competition.

An athlete with a winning mind will find it easier to achieve goals and overcome adversity when it arises, they are more receptive to feedback given and show a willingness to reach said goals and beyond.

Think Positive.
Think Positive. | Source

Winning Attitude

An athlete with a winning mind will find it easier to achieve goals and overcome adversity when it arises, they are more receptive to feedback given and show a willingness to reach said goals and beyond.

A winning attitude will help the athlete train successfully with a purpose, they will ,with their coach set realistic and honest goals they wish or need to achieve to attain or maintain success. A resourceful athlete will also look beyond their own field to discover new approaches, learn best practices and push the margins.

Losing Is A Learning Tool

A positive athlete will accept defeat not as a loss but as a learning opportunity, “win or learn”. If an athlete sees each loss as a crushing defeat they will start to cast doubt on themselves, have negative thoughts and will have trepidation going into similar future events. If it didn’t work as planned a positive athlete will take the time to analyze the “why” and “how” of what can be done differently to achieve a better result next time. They will adjust their training the way a scientist would shape a new hypothesis, with enough adjustments they could potentially achieve extraordinary results.

Removing oneself from the emotional part of a loss is a powerful tool for a positive athlete in recovering confidence and coming back stronger than before. It is natural for the athlete to be disappointed with a defeat but the key to self improvement is to recognise there are no defeats only chances to improve, a positive mind will help with this mindset.

Losing Is A Learning Tool.
Losing Is A Learning Tool. | Source

Honest Feedback

A positive athlete will have faith in their abilities and will have a “champions attitude”, a powerful tool to have, however the athlete should be warned that it is not necessary to be arrogant or condescending, humility as a central value will keep the athlete grounded and create respect from those around them.

An athlete given honest external feedback will thrive and want to achieve, adding another building block to their positivity, the feedback should come from their coach with whom they have a trust and they have a relationship of safe vulnerability. The key to feedback is to deliver it honestly in order to achieve a peak performing environment, as New Zealand All Blacks psychologist Gilbert Enoka describes it “in the belly not the back”, meaning in order to succeed there must be a culture of honesty, authenticity and safe conflict.

The New Zealand All Blacks Use A Culture Of Honesty In Feedback
The New Zealand All Blacks Use A Culture Of Honesty In Feedback | Source

A Growth Mindset

With a winning mind and a growth mindset to setbacks the positive athlete will not duck challenges and will not regard failure as a reason to stop striving. The athlete and coach will be able to breakdown the performance into its component parts and rebuild it back up with confidence. They will have the intellectual honesty to see where things are going wrong and deliver improvements through marginal gains and as a direct result positivity and confidence through a growth/winning mindset. They will recognise setbacks can lead to learning and not recriminations and defeatism.

Visualize To Actualize

An athlete has many tools to utilize and foster a positive winning mind, which can combined with the knowledge that they have , purpose driven practice and skills that they have physically. They can train their mind just like they would a muscle using techniques such as visualization, anchoring, positive language and music being just a few. All these tools can develop a cognitive map the athlete can use to self motivate and affirm their self belief. Visualizing winning, achieving and bettering past performance will assist in progress towards a more positive mind.

An athlete who can positively visualize will positively actualize.

Visualize To Overcome Obstacles.
Visualize To Overcome Obstacles. | Source

Inspired By Music

Certain music can have a twofold effect on developing a winning mind, some songs or passages of music will help the athlete relax or psyche themselves up whereas other songs/passages may have an anchoring effect in which the athlete will recall past successes related to or inspired by the music.

Use A Notebook

A note book can help foster a positive mind by documenting progress, have notes to self, and noting expectations, positive affirmations, reminders and priming words. In this document the notes and expectations need to be in a positive language, the language used embeds itself in the athletes mind and becomes action and a set of positive behaviours.

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Pressure In Competition

An athlete with a positive mind will respond better to pressure in competition, they will be more relaxed and free of muscular tension that can have a detrimental effect on performance. They will be able to recognize the onset of a dip in performance and will be able to deal with it mid event, they can take a moment if the event allows to take a deep breath, step back and recall the many times they have performed the same action or have been in the same scenario many times before with proven success.

Team Environment

In a team environment athletes with a positive mindset help teams develop and improve cohesion, the more a team works with cohesion as a positive unit the better the results for all involved. A positive attitude can become contagious as an athlete encourages another during training or competition, this is particularly useful during time outs in such sports as basketball and American football, in such situations the positive player is able to remain calm under pressure and encourage and lift their team mates spirits. A team with positive individuals will create a team culture that leads to and is driven by success. The most positive players would become leaders within a group , not necessarily the captain but a leader within a sub group such as the forward pack in a rugby team.

A Team Time Out Can Be Use To Reinforce Belief.
A Team Time Out Can Be Use To Reinforce Belief. | Source

Remain Focused

Those with a positive mind are the athletes who cope best under pressure , can remain focused and are able to rid themselves of negative thoughts.

In his book Legacy , Published November 7th 2013 by Constable, James Kerr describes it this way:

“ Under pressure, your attention is either diverted or on track. If you’re diverted, you have a negative emotional response and unhelpful behaviour. That means you’re stuck. That means you’re overwhelmed. On the other hand, if your attention is on track you have situational awareness and you execute accurately. You are clear and you overcome.”

— James Kerr

Deep Belief Will Help Success

Each and every athlete has the ability and power within them to affect performance and control emotion, combining both with a positive mind will increase success in performance whether it be personal or in competition. An athlete with a positive mind can ultimately control their destiny, with a positive mind they will continue to strive to raise their level of excellence, going beyond what they already know and think. They will face the truth with courage, rid themselves of excuses and negative thoughts, they will meet every challenge with confidence and the deep belief that they will succeed.

It wasn’t a sportsman or coach who summed this up best but political and spiritual leader Mahatma Ghandi when he said “strength does not come from physical capacity, it comes from an indomitable will.”


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