Hands up if you want to be a loser... no? We didn’t think so. While it’s unlikely that you will win at sports 100 per cent of the time, there are some good ways to boost your chances of success. If you’re looking to swap the wooden spoon for a gold medal, look no further. Here are ten sporting steps to becoming a winner:
How to be a winner 1: Physical preparation
What wouldn’t a sports man or woman give to be faster and more energised when it comes to sport? That extra tenth of a second really can be the difference between being crowned the champion or going home with the wooden spoon. Although it’s often underrated, training your body up to improve your overall physical fitness ahead of the big day is the golden rule to being a winner. No energy gel can make your body faster or more effective in sport than a good dose of physical preparation.
How to be a winner 2: Perfect your stretching techniques
It’s often thought that giving your hamstrings a good stretch is an extra step if you have a bit of extra time before or after your session; it’s all about the exercise, right? Wrong. Stretching is an important part of your routine, even if you’re not a high-performance athlete, because it reduces your risk of injury and improves your flexibility which, in turn improves your performance. When anxiety is high, the muscles tend to get tighter so it’s important to loosen them by stretching off to keep you calm and reduce your chances of injury.
How to be a winner 3: Think out of your comfort zone
Ever wondered how some sports competitors always seem to win whilst others seem to be there merely to make up the numbers? It’s because they don’t hope to win, they expect to win. Indeed, alongside technique it’s important to have a winning mindset too. The power of your subconscious mindset is so strong that truly believing you will win, no matter what the circumstances, will boost your chances of success. Take Lance Armstrong for example; he has become a true sporting legend in the face of all adversity because of his positive mindset.
How to be a winner 4: Nutrition for your body
Aiming to get the best performance out of your body when you don’t have a nutritious diet is like trying to run a vehicle with an empty tank of fuel; it will start off fine and eventually just cut out. The best way to maximise your chances of success in sport is by making sure you are well hydrated and nourished. Keep your energy and hydration at optimum levels by drinking eight pints of water a day and ensuring you have a nutritious diet.
How to be a winner 5: Make resting a ritual
It’s important to get tonnes of rest, especially when the big competition is approaching. Resting between training sessions allows your muscles to recover and your body to refuel, so it’s an integral part of your routine. Don’t be fooled into thinking that spending day and night training will give you a head-start because it will have the opposite effect. Find a healthy balance between training and rest, and you’re in good stead.
How to be a winner 6: Know the rules, inside and out
If you have a coach for the sport you play, make sure you listen to their advice. Take time to go over each rule he/she has given you, even if you feel like it’s a piece of advice that you won’t use. You never know what unexpected situations can crop up in the real game, so it’s a good idea to be prepared for all eventualities so you can pull something out of the bag last minute if your opposing team catch you off-guard.
How to be a winner 7: Seek expert advice
It’s always helpful to learn about professional sporting stars and their experiences. Whether you’re a world-class athlete or a novice, sharing tips and tricks with other athletes can be enlightening. You may learn a new trick that you never would have thought of. Of course, what works for one person may have the opposite effect for another, but it’s always worth trialling new techniques just in case you find one that works for you. Pick your favourite sports man or woman and research their techniques. What gets them motivated? How do they prepare for a match?
How to be a winner 8: Don’t use practice as a cop-out
Treat every single practice session as if it’s the real thing. If you’re lazy in the practice sessions, you won’t be physically or mentally prepared for the big day. Appoint a team mate or two to keep an eye on you during practice; if they think you aren’t stepping up to the mark then you have to keep going until you do. If you push yourself to your limits during practice, you can keep building on this and improve your performance to reach your goals.
How to be a winner 9: Determination
The key to winning is not giving up. No famous sporting star has got to where they are today without having to overcome a few hurdles along the way. If you keep losing, keep trying twice as hard. Keep determined and motivated and you will succeed.
How to be a winner 10: Enjoy the moment
Perhaps the most important part of winning when it comes to sport is enjoying it; why would you want to win a match when you don’t even enjoy the sport? Learning to truly embrace the moment will spur you on to achieve more. If you stress yourself out about winning, you will be full of negative energy and this will come through in the game and be picked up on by your team mates. There’s no point in excelling in something if you don’t enjoy it so go out there, give it your best shot, and enjoy the moment while it lasts.