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Feb 8, 2011

Success With a Winning Attitude

"Losers visualize the penalties of failure, but winners visualize the rewards of success!!" Rod Gilbert

Think for a moment, do you know of any athlete, professional or otherwise, who has an incredible sports mentality and a mindset of a winner? Do names like Kobe Bryant and boxer Manny Pacquaio sound familiar?

How about your teammates? Have you ever paddled next to, competed with or observed some of the great SD paddlers like Wade Liu, Kim Bushong and Emily Chi? I am sure you have witnessed how incredibly intense these people are.

These people are highly motivated people that live a lifestyle where they want to achieve excellence in everything they do with great resolve. For them, every activity and challenge is an opportunity to set a goal, to try something new and to go above and beyond to achieve.

I know we all would love to possess that insatiable will to succeed like these people. They are not only gifted athletes, they are great team members that help motivate others on the team by spreading around that infectious winning attitude.

As a wise coach once said,
“Attitudes are contagious – is yours worth catching?”

Here are a few ideas to get you on your way to a winning attitude:

Goal Setting
Developing your goals is the first step to winning. Goal setting is such a powerful tool used to help us achieve a result. Whether you are a newbie or a veteran paddler, goal setting will work for you. It will not only get you motivated, it will take you to another level of paddling.

Be Prepared!!
An athlete prepares his/her body for competition by training. Have you heard the old adage, “Not preparing to succeed, is preparing to fail”? Most experts claim that being prepared is your best bet for success.

An Australian Coach once said of confidence in competition, “Nothing gives an athlete confidence like knowing they have done everything they possibly could have done to their best of their ability in training and preparation”.

When one's body and mind are properly prepared, the psychological effect of becoming a winner is greatly enhanced.

Winners EXPECT to win!
Winners actually see their success before it happens! Do you expect to win your race before the horn blows? Or, do you assess your chances at the starting line? Or, even worse, do you imagine failure?

Try this exercise...

Close your eyes for 30 seconds and think about achieving a goal... go ahead, close your eyes for a moment and really think about achieving it.

During that 30 seconds, imagine winning the race. See it, feel it, hear it, imagine you and your teammates already having won. Guess what... you just programmed your mind to powerfully pull you in the winning direction. Did you notice a difference?

When we simply think about getting something, our thoughts tend to be vague. But, when we expect to get it, there is only one possibility... winning!! This one small thing gives winners a tremendous advantage over others.

Losing is a Part of Winning

I know, it hurts to be spanked in a race. In order to learn how to become a winner, you also must learn how to lose. Valuable lessons can be learned by losing. It is important to remember that losing is not an indictment of your inability; rather, it should be viewed as a learning tool used to improve your skills. The act of losing can be made positive by managing future emotions and analyzing poor performance.

Don’t Let It Happen, Make It Happen!!
In training, some athletes have “Let It Happen.” They have allowed training to become a place where sub standard skills and poor habits become acceptable practices. When they go to a competition, they will try to force a successful performance. They will only find they lack the skills, fitness and abilities to produce a winning effort.

Successful paddlers and athletes have an attitude that “Makes It Happen” in training. They apply the same focus and intensity in training as they would in competition. As a result, on competition day, they can relax knowing that they can let it happen – success is more likely to occur because of their attitude in training.

How many times have the coaches said in practice, “Train as you would compete!!”

Commit to achieving excellence!!
Athletes learn to commit to achieving excellence in everything they do in training and to apply the same focus and determination to training as they do to when competing. They create an environment of excellence in their club or training group. This attitude can make a significant difference to all the athletes in the group or squad.

Create a Vision
Winning is a complex process that involves preparation, training, dedication and goals, a formula that often is beyond the capacity of many. Those who have the ability to envision themselves as winners become just that with preparation and dedication.

They say that winning isn't everything and that's very true. Keep things in perspective. Remember why you paddle. It is fun, you like the exercise, you like the camaraderie, it feels great to master a sport, and, yes, you like to compete and win. So, Space Dragons...go out and train hard to the best of your ability and enjoy the process of your sport. You will enjoy competing more, paddle better, and have a winning mindset to achieve your goals and play an integral part in helping your team be successful as well.

See you guys on the water and at the races...with a winning 'tude!!