Steel Yourself To Be A Tough Competitor
By Lisa Lane Brown
In sport, you need to be a
That’s because sport is a war,
complete with an enemy: your
Wayne Gretzky, one of the
greatest hockey players ever,
understood that sport is a war.
After Wayne was traded
from Edmonton to Los Angeles,
he had to go back and play
against his old friends. He
‘Sooner or later I had to go to
the one place I really wanted
to avoid. It was a game I dreaded.
I saw Sather [Edmonton coach
Glen Sather] before the game and
he didn’t say a word to me. He’s
pretty honest that way. I didn’t
exist because I was on the other
team now. He’s not phony about it…
I told reporters before the game
I thought Mess [Edmonton centre
Mark Messier] would check me,
but I was wrong. He steamrolled me,
backed up and steamrolled me again.
Mark is a competitor and this
was a game he wanted to win.’
Even sports like golf and curling,
which promote sportsmanship with
your opponent, are a war…a war of
You are trying to control something
that fundamentally can’t be controlled:
the ball, a rock, etc.
If you understand that sport is a war,
you know that there are times when
you need to be a TOUGH competitior.
Here’s a key way:
Steel Yourself For The Worst
You can be an extremely tough competitor
simply by expecting the worst
to happen in competition.
Yes, I know this sounds negative,
but stay with me here…
In the Tournament Players Golf
Championship several years ago,
pros Tom Kite and Chip Beck were
the final two players left.
Chip started out horribly, making
four bogeys on the front
side, shooting 40.
Unlike most athletes, however,
Tom did not expect Chip to KEEP
Instead, he assumed Chip would be
as hot on the back side as
he was cold on the front.
And Chip did get hot, shooting 31.
Tom stuck to his game plan.
At the final hole, Tom teed off
with a two-stroke lead. Chip
had a tricky, downhill putt of 25 feet.
Tom immediately assumed Chip would
make that putt.
Sure enough, Chip made it.
If Chip’s putt had surprised or
unnerved Tom, his next putt
would have suddenly become much harder.
But Tom prepared his expectations perfectly.
His emotional state did not change when
Chip’s ball disappeared into the hole.
Then Tom holed his par putt and won
You see, expectations are at the
root of most frustration and surprise.
Have you ever been performing well
when suddenly your opponent mades
a surprising gain on you?
How did you react?
Did you feel sorry for yourself?
Or did you stay ‘even keel’?
Whatever reaction you had, I can
tell you that it came from
To be tough in competition,
you need to be optimistic about
the big picture — winning —
but pessimistic about the
details of getting to the win.
Expect to win and reach your goals,
but at the same time, expect
for all the little things
to go wrong in the process.
Expect your opponent to come up
Expect conditions to be bad.
Expect delays, equipment trouble,
Expect to make mistakes.
The simple act of being
optimistic about the outcome–
while dropping your expectations
about the process – conditions,
opponents, and your own performance
– will prevent frustration.
You’ll be able to stay calm, cool,
and collected while everyone
around you is freaking out.
If you’re ready for the “whole enchilada”
of mental toughness training, then the
only place to go is my ADVANCED
Courage to Win in Sport 30 Day Home Study
Program. I’ve spent years and years
putting together all the pieces of the
puzzle…and organizing the concepts,
theories and step-by-step practical
techniques for turning you into
a mental giant in sport — the kind
of athlete or coach who causes opponents
to tremble with anxiety.
It’s a 30 day program featuring audio
and written materials that is easy
to absorb and slide into your weekly
training. You can check it out here:
For an introduction to my basic
strategies, you can go to my
downloadable Ebook, The Courage to Win
in Sport: Perform Your Best Under Pressure.
I review the core mental toughness
ideas and principles you need to
shift your inner game so you can
shine under pressure.
Check it out now. You can now download and
preview it for a full 7 days without
Just go here:
I’ll talk to you again soon.
Lisa Lane Brown, M.A.
The Courage to Win