The answer is in the question… Who is the athlete you need to be to win? How does being you benefit your sport?

Yesterday and today, I had 2 very similar cases of Junior athletes who are at the top of their sport nationally, and potentially world wide yet they are very unlikely to achieve their potential as they are.

There are many sports that require aggression and to be ruthless, and many athletes who are not this way naturally.

The solution needs to be in who you need to be to get the results. The best way I can help you understand is in my case.

My sport was Tae Kwon Do, a martial art, I was very good at the sport, fast, strong and flexible, I just did not like conflict, or fighting and this was my downfall (or knock out) rather than change my whole personality just for sport, I found a way to change me while competing. I found out what was important to me, my family. I printed a small picture of my family, laminated it and sewed it in the back of my jacket. Now to add the killer instinct to this, I imagined the person on the mat facing me was going to kill my family and I was the only person between them.

See how the different state could be achieved? I became aggressive and with the skill needed to achieve the results in State and National Titles. no one was getting past me. My 3×3 min round fights ended in 30 seconds and my opposition were very cautious and went into protection mode and I had the advantage.

Now, I am not saying this state works for every sport, many sports benefit by being relaxed, almost at the state of sleep for shooters and archers. being someone different is what actors do to get into a role, so why not take this approach in sport?

A golfer this morning is a very caring player, he would do anything for his family and friends, he has a fear of success around winning, does not like to stand out and therefore holds back to reduce judgement on himself. In doing this, he is allowing others to win. Despite his skills he is not the person who will be #1 on the world. in creating his alter ego today, he went from an emotional wreck to an inspired golfer in 1 hour. We worked on the traits he needed to have to be the athlete that could win and be strong enough to survive the personal exposure and judgement. He gave this alter ego a name and the rest will be history. every time he steps in his golf shoes now, he is stepping into the shoes of the alter ego.

The other athlete is a junior female tennis player and again… she will not be successful as she is because she wants to be liked by everyone. She hates losing and cuts herself from any ‘friends’ who beat her. Again, think about this issue with her winning, her friends will cut her from her group. The solution is to be the person you need to be to win the matches.

Unfortunately being at the top in sport, business and life is a very lonely place. People will hate you, even if they have never met you, people are reminded of their own failures by looking at your success. They take this anger and frustration out on you and… it is easier, just to let them play the emotional game and let them self destruct!

The golfer this morning said that even Beyonce’ says she becomes a different person on stage, this is not an accident. This is intentional, this is what the best of the best do.

If it is good enough for them… do it for yourself!


Stuart Walter

The Athlete’s Secret Weapon