Cultivating the Winning Attitude for Sports

Whether you’re an aspiring sports star, casual athlete, or just someone looking to get in shape, the right frame of mind makes all the difference in attaining your goals. If you want to build your muscles, improve your stamina, or hone your skills, you need more than a good diet, healthy habits, and sheer willpower – you need a winning attitude.

The following tips are important for both fitness practitioners, and coaches and trainers, to optimize health and athletic goals.

It first starts with the athlete’s attitude towards competition. Whether on the field or at the gym, the sense of competing with others can be a major motivator, if harnessed correctly. You should see competition as an opportunity to grow and develop, and as a test of your abilities and skills – not as a way to show up or put down others.

Moreover, whoever or whatever you are competing against, you should not fear failure or take any shortcomings personally. Competition is not a win-or-lose, zero-sum game; like any test, it is a chance to learn and grow, and that requires an occasional loss or disappointment. Successful athletes see the bigger picture and take every challenge they encounter – especially those that lead to losing – as a teachable moment.

This leads to the attitude towards winning and losing. Feeling good about victory, and conversely, feeling bad about failure, are perfectly normal responses. But athletes should look beyond points, wins, and losses and instead draw a lesson from every development, good or bad.

If an athlete wins, they should ask – or be asked by their coaches – what helped them secured that victory. What worked? What didn’t? What can be learned to ensure victory next time? Similarly, when an athlete loses, they should think about what contributed to that loss, rather than beat themselves up about it. Again, it is all about taking the long-view and seeing every development on the path to fitness as a chance to learn.

A winning attitude also focuses inward, developing a mindset that is beneficial on and off the field. This entails knowing more about yourself – strengths, weaknesses, and goals – being mindful and focused about your objectives, remaining committed and resolute to any task you set upon, and keeping an open mind to growing both physically and mentally.