An Introduction: How to become a Champion of the Process
When a kid grows up with heavy exposure to sport (like I did) they tend to develop an appreciation for competition and the things that come with it. If approached in the correct way, adversity in the life of a young athlete can be turned into a valuable lesson that transcends the competitive setting. The beauty of sport is that adversity and hardship come often and without warning, yet the consequences of taking risks are really quite minimal. Sport influences a young individual to strive for something beyond their current capabilities, put themselves on an island of potential difficulties and attempt to not only survive the circumstances but thrive despite them. Sport and performance psychology is about navigating those hard times and providing tools that, if used correctly, can help teams and individuals deal with adversity and reach beyond where their physical capabilities can take them.
I started this journey some time ago with the knowledge that many athletes and former athletes have acquired over time: there is obviously a large mental component to any and every sport that regularly goes untouched. The best of the best coaches and athletes have figured this out and made a concerted effort to study the psychology of sport and implement some strategies that have worked in the past. That's where sport and performance psychology was born. Not by the systematic research of scientists that know nothing of sport and the process that comes with it, but by the effort of coaches and those with knowledge of sport that knew there was something beyond their traditional way of teaching the game that would revolutionize our idea of performance excellence.
Speaking of the process that comes with competing in sport, I believe that is what's at the heart of everything I do in working with athletes and teams. Competing at a high level is often not as flashy or intriguing as the spectator might assume. It's often quite slow and meticulous with a variety of speed bumps along the way. In a world of instant gratification, high-level performers must focus on recognizing the small gains and putting outcomes on the back burner. It's all about making thoughts and goals operational, which the majority of people would consider "boring." Champions of the process find a way to make the "boring" become meaningful.
I'm a big believer in making things simple for athletes. Simple thoughts seem much more likely to help in the moments where we really need our thoughts to get us through. The simple objective of this post (and future ones) is to provide athletes with the content necessary to become champions of the process. Some continue to see sport psychology in the wrong light. A motivational or inspirational tweet/quote is great, but sport psychology is about tagging along with the athlete into the "arena" where failure and struggle exist on a regular basis. This blog will take a look into that aspect of sport that you cannot see from an outsider's perspective.