Eyes on the prize. What makes a winner?

Eyes on the prize. What makes a winner?

Tennis – the perfect demonstration that winning in sport is as much mental as it is physical. Andy Murray is not alone in his earlier-than-expected trip home in this year's Wimbledon - Serena Williams, Rafael Nadal and Maria Sharapova were all the subject of shock defeats at this year’s tournament. Can we learn something from these surprises?

All competitive sports have to have winners and losers. Everybody will experience both, and we all know which we prefer. We tell ourselves that ‘it’s not whether we win or lose, it is how we play the game’. Quite a few of us will really be thinking ‘winning isn’t everything, it is the ONLY thing’, or even ‘second place means first loser’.

If winning matters to you, then you need to take on the characteristics of a winner.

  • Motivation: Winners need to get out and get practicing, however they feel and whatever the weather. Visualise that prize when it is all too much effort.
  • Reputation: playing against the ‘person to beat’ can mean that we talk ourselves into defeat. Conversely the underdog has no pressure of expectation affecting their performance, which can be an advantage. Read more about underdogs here, and decide which reputation you would prefer.
  • Confidence: winners believe in themselves – but not too much! Writing off the opposition as being of no consequence can end in a nasty surprise. Pride can indeed come before a fall.
  • Attitude: winners are calm under pressure, stick to the game plan and refuse to be ‘psyched-out’.

All these factors help, but there’s no doubt that the number one characteristic of a winner is preparation. Real winners have to practice, train and work for their victories. So to join the winners, get training!

Comments

Clare R.
14 July 2014

Clare R.

I was fascinated by the tennis - not just the athleticism but the concentration needed. Especially when surrounded by that crowd!

Pete R.
11 July 2014

Pete R.

Djokovic said himself that he would win if he was in the right "mental state" so it just goes to show it's all in the mind!

craig t.
9 July 2014

craig t.

I think the 'winning' goal can put lots of people off. I was never much good at competitive sports when I was young but now I'm older I love walking, cycling and running - on my own!!!

Phillip H.
9 July 2014

Phillip H.

I think people are definitely either competitive or not - and to be at the top level such as Mr Djokovic you need to be the competitive type! Doesn't mean that the uncompetitive can't enjoy sport, there are plenty of sports that are fun for their own sake. Cycling, walking, sailing, paddleboarding to name just a few.

Emma C.
8 July 2014

Emma C.

I do spend a lot of time telling my children it's not the winning that matters, it's the taking part. But it appears there is an inherent human urge to win, the 'competitive streak', and this is very strong in some people.

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