Mental Game Secrets Of Winners
Becoming A Mentally Tough Competitor
Bill Cole, MS, MA
This article continues a discussion of the seven major sports
winning strategies. The first three were discussed in the
Game Secrets Of Winners: #1: Don't Beat Yourself, #2: Play
Within Yourself and
#3: Play the Percentages. The second article looked
at #4: Adjust
To Conditions, The Opponent and Yourself
and #5: Know Why You're Winning. This article looks
at #6: Winners Find A Way To Win and #7: Don't Choose
False Paths To Victory.
Copyright © Bill Cole, MS, MA 2000-2010
All rights reserved.
Learning about the mental game of winning is an exciting adventure,
whether we are playing the mental game of sports or the mental
game of business or the mental game of life. The principles
of strategic and tactical planning, and of in-the-game mental
execution are the same. Only the context changes. To become
adept at bringing the outcome around to our favor more often,
we need to become intimately familiar with the complex emotional
and psychological processes of the competitive process itself.
Mental Game Skill #6: Winners Find A Way To Win
Winners know how to identify and avoid the pitfalls and false
paths that lead them away from victory. Winners know the dynamics
of game playing in the competitive arena so they can extract
their best performances.
At the heart of finding a way to win is your unending determination
to do whatever it takes to secure victory. You will make up
your mind that you will continually look for ways to play
better, to score points, to make the opponent play less well,
and even when things look darkest, to continue to hang in
there, hoping for a break.
You believe you are never out of the running, that you always
have a chance, that somehow there might be a little opening
for you to win. Fierce competitors are forever looking for
what works. They keep trying things until they find a way
Successful competitors view the game process as an exciting
venue in which to try experiments. They are invested in the
process and love to push themselves to see if they will pass
their own tests. When they are down in the contest, they come
alive even more and rise to the occasion, because at this
point the test has become almost life and death, where competitive,
primal instincts kick in. Top performers seek out this set
of uncertain circumstances because they know this brings out
their best play. They love the excitement this brings.
Mental Game Tip #1: Learn to love the craziness of
competition. Love the uncertainty.
Mental Game Tip #2: Push yourself to stay positive
in the face of adversity and expect your best play to emerge.
Mental Game Tip #3: Continually look for ways to win
until the contest is over. Keep experimenting to throw off
the opponent and to find something that works for you.
Mental Game Skill #7: Don't Choose False Paths To Victory
Just as smart competitors seek the best ways to win, they
also ardently avoid any and all seemingly good, yet false
paths to a win. Consider these players with a huge lead. Bob
suddenly begins blasting the ball or begins going for impossible
shots because it seems like "the lead is huge and there is
no chance of losing." The lead is quickly lost. Martin, who
was winning going to the net and by being aggressive, decides
to relax and take it easy because the match "is in the bag".
He loses. Pete, with a big lead decides to play it safe because
"Don't blow a good thing" sounds so sensible. He sees the
opponent come roaring back. Jim decides to try some cute drop
shots or lobs or angles that he hasn't hit in months because
"I can afford to miss a few interesting shots and still win".
He loses momentum and never recovers. Steve begins to rush
when he gets a lead in his hurry to get the match over with
"before the opponent makes a comeback". He loses badly.
These scenarios are all too real. They happen every day on
tennis courts around the world.
Mental Game Tip #4: Know what the false paths to victory
are. Recognize them before you fall victim to them.
Mental Game Tip #5: Stay the course when you have the
momentum. Stick with what brought you to the dance. Don't
change a winning strategy.
Mental Game Tip #6: Tolerate the uncertainty of being
in the lead and enjoy it. Don't rush it and don't fear you
will lose it. Be in the moment and learn from it. The more
you learn how to win at this critical juncture, the more often
you can return to this vantage point, and, using the signs
you noticed the last time you came down this road, continue
your winning ways.
Winners and high achievers realize the critical importance
of vision strategizing, tactical planning, contingency planning,
competitive process wisdom, and capturing the lessons learned
from the battle. These successful competitors are self-aware,
situation-aware, time-aware and momentum-aware. They understand
how the mental game and the strategic-tactical game come together
to form an impenetrable bond leading to mental toughness and
This article covers only one small part of the mental game.
A complete mental training program includes motivation and goal-setting,
pre-event mental preparation, post-event review and analysis,
mental strengthening, self-regulation training, breath control
training, motor skill training, mental rehearsal, concentration
training, pressure-proofing, communication training, confidence-building,
breaking through mental barriers, slump prevention, mental toughness
training, flow training, relaxation training, momentum training,
psych-out proofing and media training.
For a comprehensive overview of your mental abilities you need
an assessment instrument that identifies your complete mental
strengths and weaknesses. For a free, easy-to-take 65-item sport
psychology assessment tool you can score right on the spot,
This assessment gives you a quick snapshot of your strengths
and weaknesses in your mental game. You can use this as a guide
in creating your own mental training program, or as the basis
for a program you undertake with Bill Cole, MS, MA to improve
your mental game. This assessment would be an excellent first
step to help you get the big picture about your mental game.
Bill Cole, MS, MA, a leading authority on peak performance, mental toughness
and coaching, is founder and President of the International Mental Game Coaching
Bill is also founder and CEO of William B. Cole Consultants, a consulting firm that helps
organizations and professionals achieve more success in business, life and sports.
He is a multiple Hall of Fame honoree, an award-winning scholar-athlete, published
book author and articles author, and has coached at the highest levels of major-league
pro sports, big-time college athletics and corporate America. For a free, extensive
article archive, or for questions and comments visit him at www.MentalGameCoach.com.
Article Source: https://www.MentalGameCoaching.com
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