Lessons from sport training

Perhaps the most important thing learned from sports, and certainly my own experience in individual combat sports, is the importance of the mind. One must have the physical prowess to compete successfully at more advanced levels of any sport, but, given similar physical abilities, most accomplished athletes will tell you that the mind is the single most critical factor in determining success. Yogi Berra summed it up nicely:

Ninety percent of baseball is mental. The other half is physical.

Ask anyone experienced and successful in any kind of competition, and most will say the same thing. Perhaps not as eloquently as Yogi, but the message is the same.

The mental attitude and aptitude of long-term, successful competitors is no secret. They are confident (a product of training and experience), and because of that they are able to maintain relaxedness in execution and are not overly anxious or tense.

Long-term successful competitors have a will to compete (I would hazard a guess that the number of competitors who perform much better in the training room than “live on stage” is exponentially greater than the other way around), maintain a positive attitude, love what they do, have a high degree of focus, and are not easily distracted or discouraged. They react positively to, and perhaps are even elevated by, adversity or difficult situations. It’s easy to be a monk on a mountain, but we are all measured by our reaction to adversity.

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