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Achieving the Mindset of a Champion


Mental toughness can be one of the most difficult skills to hone as an athlete and to teach as a coach. It’s easy for players to let things like opponents, fans, or errors get in their head and hinder their performance for the rest of the game. As a coach, it’s essential to help your athletes move on from mistakes in order to win games. Graham Betchart, a performance coach who specializes in mental skills training, outlines a few elements that make up the mindset of a champion.

These are great to give to your athletes before the season starts or to even have posted on the wall in the locker room.

  • Believe in yourself. Don’t be afraid to love your talent.
  • Motivate yourself. Set personal goals.
  • Think like a champion. Consistent mind equals consistent performance.
  • Visualize success. See it, feel it, believe it, be it.
  • Mentally prepare for competition. Create a consistent pre-game routine.
  • Welcome the pressure. Embrace all challenges and obstacles and look at them as opportunities.
  • Play to play great, not to just avoid mistakes.
  • Focus on the moment at hand. Stay ‘present’ when you compete.
  • Trust your abilities. Play without worry.
  • Compete—every moment and every play.
  • Control what you can. Let everything else go.
  • Attitude, effort, and focus are in your control. Discipline yourself.
  • Learn from losses. You’ll often learn the most from defeat.
  • Write your own story. How do you want to be remembered?
  • Commit to the mental game. Work on your mental skills every day.
  • Love hard work. Learn to be comfortable with being uncomfortable.

“I always visualized my success. The process of seeing success before it happened put me in a positive frame of mind and prepared me to play the game.” -Michael Jordan

How do you help your athletes achieve the mindset of a champion?

Alan Stein is the owner of Stronger Team, the head Strength & Conditioning Coach for Nike Elite DeMatha Catholic High School basketball program. He is a performance consultant for Nike Basketball, the head conditioning coach for the annual Jordan Brand All American Classic and the Nike Summer Skills Academies. He is a Camp Coach at the prestigious NBA Players Association’s Top 100 Camp as well as the Chris Paul CP3 Elite Backcourt Camp. He is the former strength & conditioning coach for the McDonald’s All American game. His passion, enthusiasm, and innovative training techniques make him a world renowned expert on productive training for basketball players.

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