Inside the mind of an athlete

Photo via ( under the Creative Commons License

Photo via ( under the Creative Commons License

Nate Langon and Jahlil Taylor

“In order to succeed, we first must believe that we can”-Nikos Kazantzakis

Athletes are people who have an interest in physical sports and exercise. If you asked an athlete: What do you consider an important trait for an athlete? A common answer may be strength, speed, agility and other physical abilities. This may not always be the case.

UFC legend Georges St-Pierre once said, “A fight is 10% physical and 90% mental.” Athletes, especially young athletes, often think more of the physical side of the game, but this isn’t the key to success.

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali and golfing star Tiger Woods are famous for being mentally tough, and they are some of the best athletes of all time. This proves that being strong mentally greatly increases your athletic performance and helps you play overall better.

8th grader, Hogan Boyd, plays baseball, basketball and volleyball. He said, “the mental side of the game I think is the most important, because if you’re going into [a game] with the wrong mindset your performance won’t be as good, and if you let things go to your head it really affects your performance.”

Many athletes have different methods of preparing their minds. Idris Brooks, basketball player, said he warms up his body. He said, “I focus on the sport that I’m playing and do stretches.”

Music is also a good recommendation for athletes. Breezy Barrino said music “gets him ready” and “motivates” him.

Some athletes like to prepare themselves by envisioning success and situations. 7th grader and athlete, Dylan Stephen said, “I think of different situations in my head like what would I do if this happens or this happens.”

Tommy Oatman, baseball, basketball and volleyball player fills his body with fuel and energy, “I usually eat a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, because the grape jelly with the peanut butter takes my mind off the game.”

Having a pre game routine proves to get athletes ready and prepared.

Journalist, Lauri Yogi, from the Student Athlete Connections stated,  “Athletes know optimizing performance means being both mentally and physically prepared. Believe it or not, a seemingly silly pre-game routine can help!“

Another mentally strong person is David Goggins who inspired 8th grader and football player, Brady Hammond. One of his quotes is, “Don’t stop when you’re tired. Stop when you’re done.” And the only way you can push yourself and keep going until you’re done is to be mentally strong.

Dealing with failure is a very important trait for mental strength. Tommy Oatman said, “You can’t succeed without failing.

Michael Jordan, who is arguably the greatest basketball player of all time, once said, “The key to success is failure.” Athletes who don’t use success as a learning opportunity won’t be successful. 

Everyone started by failing and used it as fuel to train and learn. Dylan Stephens shared a quote from Rocky Balboa with us, “A champion was once a contender.”

Munch Lukachyk said when you fail you need to “practice, practice, and more practice.” If you don’t learn from your mistakes nothing will improve.

Athletes need to have their mindset a top priority. It is proven countless times that it is the key to success. Many dominant athletes are big on mental toughness. They constantly win and do their job on the field, court, track or whatever. Mental toughness is the key to success and winning. 

And at the end of the day, as Hogan Boyd states, “When you win you win and when you lose you don’t win.”