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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!