As a specialist in the human mind for peak performance I have always questioned the fight to ‘be the underdog’

I am not sure if this term exists in many other countries other than Australia, I know the concept does!

From Wikipedia …

An “underdog” is a person or group in a competition, usually in sports and creative works, who is popularly expected to lose. The party, team, or individual expected to win is called the favourite or ‘top dog’. In the case where an underdog wins, the outcome is an ‘upset’. An “underdog bet” is a bet on the underdog or outsider for which the odds are generally higher.

The first recorded uses of the term occurred in the second half of the nineteenth century; its first meaning was “the beaten dog in a fight”.

A typical example of this is the National Rugby League competition (NRL) here in Australia. Teams, players and coaches have somehow led to believe that being the underdog somehow takes the pressure off and gives them something to fight for.

For years, I have wondered why a coach would be pushing for this status,what are the benefits?

I decided to look into this as a specialist in the mind and as much as I understand the logic, you have to wonder about what actions are achieved or how they limit performance in doing this.

When you take into account that about 5%of the way we think, act and behave is at the conscious level and that certain fundamentals of the human exist, you have to wonder what the underdog status is doing at the unconscious level of the mind… where it really matters.

The players are lead to believe they are not as good as their opposition.

Pressures are applied to the players

The players then question abilities

They start to resent the coach

They ease off the intensity of the training

Friction is created within the team as they see others not stepping up

It can create stress responses that tighten up muscles,

The natural free flowing game and movement (muscle memory) ceases and this enters the realm of injury zone!

The team cohesion is dissolved and the results… well you can only guess.


I know this is just the Coaches way of getting them fired up because that is what they think it does.

What would happen if the coaches said “I believe in you boys, you will win, just trust your abilities, the training we have done and go have fun”

Communication is not what you say, it is the feedback you get that is the true sign of how effective your communication was.

Start talking yourself up, lifting your team by focusing them on what they are good at, start telling people you are here to win… and then do it.

The simple law of attraction states… you get what you focus on, focus on winning, practice winning and celebrate your success in advance!

Stuart Walter

The Athlete’s Secret Weapon

32 World Champions and counting…


written by: STUART WALTER

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