Competitiveness is a desirable trait that all athletes strive for and all coaches wish to see from their players.
What does being competitive mean, and what can we learn from competitive people to implement into our own mindsets and routines?
The Competitive Difference
Everyone who plays sports is competitive, otherwise, they wouldn’t be playing sports. However, there is a common distinction that separates some of the best athletes in the world from everybody else.
The competitive mindset is driven by the desire to win. Professional athletes aren’t just competitive though, a lot of them are fiercely competitive. The difference?
These big-time athletes don’t just compete to win — they compete to win against the best competition.
Truly competitive people aren’t satisfied by just winning, they want to earn it. Competition brings out the best in them, and when they are matched up against the best players or teams in their sport, they can reach even higher levels of performance and motivation.
Having a Healthy Competitive Desire
Obviously, being competitive is important and a great trait to have as an athlete. However, like many things in life, too much of it can be a bad thing.
Being overly competitive can actually harm your performance, as opposed to helping.
There is a common phrase that a lot of coaches and athletes have adopted, and that is “Winning isn’t everything… it’s the ONLY thing.” While that sounds all well and good, and would be great on a t-shirt, it doesn’t actually lead to a healthy competitive mindset.
Smart competitors know that even if you don’t win, there are still lessons to be learned in the losses.
True competitors don’t compete to win or to have fun, they compete as a means to improve themselves and get the most out of their talents and efforts.
Cooperation and Confidence
One thing people who see themselves as competitive will do is break down their teammates who they see as less talented or less competitive.
This is an unhealthy view of competition and cooperation. Don’t let your competitive desire go too far — your teammates are there to cooperate with you to win. Instead of coming down on others in order to give yourself an edge, encourage your teammates, because their success ultimately leads to your success as well.
The harmful competitiveness we have discussed throughout this article all stem from one thing: a lack of confidence.
People who have a harmful view of competitiveness usually have a fear of failure, because they don’t have confidence in themselves.
Healthy and smart competitors realize that losses don’t mean failure, they act as a way to better yourself and become a better player than you were before. Having confidence that you can learn from the mistakes you’ve made and developed yourself by reflecting on those mistakes and losses, makes you a stronger competitor.
Be comfortable knowing that losses just present opportunities for improvement that you will cash in on, and you can become a truly elite competitor.
Want to learn even more about competitive desire and work through activities that help you develop and train your own competitive mindset? Check out our Mental Gym workout on this exact topic by searching for it HERE.
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