Winning is defined as gaining, resulting in, or relating to victory in a contest or competition.
Winning is apparently also a shaft or pit together with the apparatus for extracting coal or other minerals; personally, I didn’t know that second definition and Today I Learned, but this article isn’t going to educate you about mines. Rather, this article is going to talk about a unique topic—one of a mental game, a physical game, and no game at all.
The mentality of winning — what is it? How does one develop it? And why does it matter?
In sports, athletes and coaches have to work together in order to achieve greatness. In order for a coach to be successful, they have to know the game, and they have to know how to enable players and develop excellent teamwork. In order for the players to be successful, they have to know how they are going to approach or play the game, what strategy they have, and what they are going to do in the game, on the field or court, or wherever else.
Strategy, talent, and training aside, there is something that is much more basic about success in the game. This thing is the mentality of a winner, and the question is, how can people adopt one?
Alexis Kaufusi, the coach of the Mountain View High School varsity girls basketball team, said, “I think that sports are just as, if not more, mental than they are physical.”
She went on to say, “We always watch film so [the players] can see what they did… It’s important for them to see what they did wrong, and they need to know that, “Hey, we lost, but we’re still good basketball players.”
The mental strength a player needs to miss a shot or make the wrong play—big or little mistakes that cost time, energy, and maybe points—can take huge tolls on an athlete over the course of the game.
It takes dedication, perseverance, self-confidence, knowledge, and maturity for an athlete not to cave in after they mess something up, or after an opposing player outperforms your team. For a player to go from an athlete to a winner they need to know where they are strong, and where they are weak, and the weaknesses need to be fixed. As Billie Jean King said, “Champions keep playing until they get it right.”
Champion: a person who has defeated or surpassed all rivals in competition.
A lot of things make an individual a champion, and one of the most obvious factors is never giving up. E-sports Journalist Duncan “Thorin” Shields wrote an article earlier this year about the ‘spirit’ that a player can possess. This article references the energy, drive, ability, and heart that professional CS:GO player Wiktor “TaZ” Wojtas has despite his age, skill and ability, along with a multitude of other factors stacking up against him. Despite these, he still competes and aims to win.
A quote from the article reads, “A man who will not quit may be beaten, but he is never a loser.” It’s a long, painful, and grueling road to become the best at anything but as long as you haven’t quit, you haven’t lost.
A person can succeed and still make a mistake; it happens all the time. But champions and legends such as Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Tom Brady, Babe Ruth, etc.,won’t quit playing until it seems that they can do no wrong.
Mountain View High School Assistant Principal Rick Stafford explained the idea of success and winning more, saying, “Success is a snapshot. And when the world takes a snapshot, the world misses out on the path of failure and hardship that an individual has gone through to achieve that snapshot. Failure always comes before success.”
Stafford went on to explain what he calls the “Double Goal Approach.” The Double Goal Approach is where an individual not only focuses on achievement, but also on growth.
If an individual goes into a competition and that person’s only focus is to win, if that person doesn’t win, that person might fall apart; they could get angry, depressed, or any number of other things. But, if this person were to approach competition with this “Double Goal Approach,” they might see how they’ve improved upon a skill or a task significantly since they first began, and they can set a goal for where they want to be for the next competition, next month, or next time they do this task.
To illustrate, I recently competed in the Utah SkillsUSA competition. I competed in the TV (Video) Production competition where we had six hours (three to film, three to edit) to make a one-minute commercial.
Being as video production has only been a hobby of mine for a year or two, and I’ve only been enrolled in the classes for about six months, I went into the competition not focusing on placing 1st, 2nd, or 3rd, but instead, used those placements to scale where I was in the field, where my strongest points were, and where I need to improve the most. I used Principal Stafford’s approach and it benefited me massively. During the awards ceremony, sure, I was disappointed that my partner and I didn’t place, but we have a plan on how to improve, and what we want to do going forward.
As you can see, dedication, hard work, talent and skill don’t just relate to sports or even just to competition. You can apply these things in any situation or circumstance.
Whether it be a senior in high school who just needs to grind out the last few weeks before graduation, a child learning to ride a bike, or an alcoholic trying not to relapse, whatever or wherever it is, you can set goals for yourself, make an effort, and develop a winners mentality.
Success doesn’t just find you. You have to go out and get it.