Failure Can Be A Great Teacher – Part 3

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We often make the mistake that only success counts but in most cases it is the opposite! Failure can be a great teacher. Let’s take a look at some more aspects of living and playing through the wisdom of a champion.

Don’t Be Mistaken About Mistakes

Focus on your strengths and find ways to limit the impact of your limitations. Always strive to limit the impact of your limitations on your ambitions. Remember that a true champion performance means doing the very best you can with whatever abilities you have.

During competitions, quickly forget mistakes. This is crucial in reactive sports such as tennis because dwelling on a mistake often leads to making another error which leads to more points lost and maybe more significantly a game or set lost! Keep moving forward by breaking off the rear view mirror. To perform at a champion’s level, avoid making it a history lesson while you are on court. The best is to collect your thoughts after the mistake at the back of the court, with your back to your opponent, adjust the strings on your racket, calm your thoughts, take a deep breath, then resume play with a clean slate. If the ball that went out or into the net comes back to you immediately, replace it with another to indicate a fresh start.

Failure Can Be A Great Teacher

Accept that temporary failures are an integral part of sports and life. It is also through our failures and continuing to take chances that we learn the lessons it has to teach us and then act on them. Keep working on your game and failure will in time be replaced by success.

The arrow that hits the bull’s eye is the result of 100 misses is a Buddhist saying that is definitely worth bearing in mind.

Smash Idols

Admire rather than idolise your favourite players or you are discounting yourself and your own game. There is no need ever to be in awe of a fellow competitor. Refuse to be intimidated by anyone or anything.

Don’t be intimidated by the impossibility, be motivated by the possibility

Regardless of others’ past accomplishments, nobody is a superhero with special powers; instead, he or she is just another normal fallible person. treat everyone with respect, but never treat yourself with disrespect. On the flip side if you look down at others, make sure it is when you are giving them a hand up after falling, or when you are shaking hands from the top of the podium after receiving the gold medal or trophy.

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Don’t Be Too Proud To Get Help

A champion desires continuous improvement across the board. As such, seek help for needed improvements from specialists with unique skills, such as sports psychologists, physiotherapists, strength and conditioning coaches etc. This is not an admission of weakness, rather, it is an acknowledgement that you are human and you want to improve your performance or enhance your life playing the sport you love.  A Japanese proverb says,

Better than a thousand days of diligent study is one day with a great teacher

Strength Come In The Struggle

Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!

Adversity is what you make of it. Use favourable experiences and events to your advantage, because adversity will come at some point. Rather than viewing adversity as a sign that things are getting worse, be inspired by the opportunity to make your game better. Don’t allow adversity to become a hindrance to your game but instead use it to make you stronger.

Embrace challenges in life rather than avoiding them or hoping for a smoother ride all of the time. It’s not going to happen! It is because of obstacles and interferences in our path that we learn how to handle them and we are able to reach greater degrees of excellence.

A triumph can’t be had without the struggle

Nothing Works Without The Work

Align your ambitions, dreams and goals with reality. Effort and work are needed for improvements and results. If you really want to succeed, then effort and work are not that tough to do! Are you practicing to practice or working to get better? To perform at a champion’s level, understand that “practice is everything,” and good old-fashioned hard work will pay dividends in future competitions.

Rehearse and re-rehearse all of your skills and routines through high quality training until they are committed to muscle memory and can be performed instinctively on the court. Maximum preparation in training leads to optimal performance in competition so have no fear that failure can be a great teacher!

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Excerpts taken from “The Champion’s Mind – How Great Athletes Think Train and Thrive” by Jim Afremow PhD. ISBN 978-1-62336-562-2 – An excellent read from a leading sports psychology consultant and licensed counsellor.

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