How do you win the mental game in sports?

Start by getting to know yourself.  Competing in sports is what you make of it.  Actually, a lot of things work this way. If you want a good outcome, let values shape your vision and your actions.

I live and compete by my values.  And because of that, I see sports as much more than a contest of athletic ability.  Can sports be intellectually, emotionally, and culturally engaging?  Of course.  When I look at the Olympics, I see a culmination of so many unique qualities and characteristics.  If you’re focusing on the win in absence of these kinds of things, you’re probably doing it wrong.

I could tell you exactly how each of my core values below shape my mental framework in different areas of my life – training, racing, and living – but that would take the fun out of it.  Read between the lines, then give some deep thought to the role that your own values play in your life.  Winning doesn’t happen overnight, so enjoy the process and everything that it means to you.  Here’s a glimpse of what it means to me.

  1. Fight: I fight for things that matter to me and I don’t shy away from challenges.  You won’t see me throw punches, but you can count on me to put up a fight when it matters.
  2. Kindness: I treat others with kindness and I do things because I genuinely care.
  3. Education: I always want to be inquisitive.  I’m in my element as long as I’m learning.
  4. Courage: I believe in courage over confidence.  (I learned this from my sport psych, Mitch Greene)
  5. Poise: I carry myself and my values with purpose during significant and seemingly insignificant times alike.


William Huffman