Don’t underestimate the hours of practice that winners put into becoming the best. Especially at this age, endless commitment and skilled time management are required for the student-athletes at our school to continuously bring back titles.

The top sportspeople are disciplined, focused and determined, often sacrificing a normal routine for one that revolves around their sport in order to gain first place. Most will even undergo dieting, extra training, and special regimens to keep themselves in perfect condition.

However, these traits are also found within any regular athlete – although to a lesser degree. The difference between someone who plateaus and someone who wins is their emotional and mental capacity.

Those who consistently win have an aggressive drive to always improve on previous performances. As they are making moves on their own instead of responding to the prompts of others, initiative is taken, creating intrinsic instead of extrinsic motivation to get better. The idea of winning becomes natural with no other possibility.

Former tennis player Chris Evert once said that “you have to be selfish” to be a champion. Even if the concept is more common in individual sports where victories and losses are extremely personal, this is seen throughout all types of sports as there is rarely more than one winner. It is impossible to win without being the reason that someone else loses. We’ll never be able to tell how opponents will perform, so the only way to guarantee success is to work on yourself as much as possible.

But ultimately, this “vaulting ambition” has to be controlled. Unlike Macbeth who has no sense of when to stop or what his limits are, the idea of winning should not overtake morals or motivate any forms of cheating. We are obviously not in a situation where we could take over a country, but losses are not the end of the world and forgiveness needs to be shown to one’s self when faced with disappointment. The desire to experience highs should be balanced with the ability to recover and learn from lows. The “art of losing”, they call it.

All this time spent on developing a winner’s mentality can benefit you in the wider world as well. Even being a successful business person requires the characteristics of a professional athlete! So regardless of whether you are an elite or social player, no harm can come out of always striving to win.

27th May, 2024
Written by Ally Chu, edited by Hope Zhang
Image by Fauzan Saari on Unsplash

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