Are some athletes missing a fundaMENTAL component to their training?

Practice makes perfect, right? Or, if you keep training and improving, you will win medals, right? The common motivational advice from other athletes is: "Keep practicing and never give up!"

When I hear statements like these, it seems that athletics can be simplified into a formula.  You train for this many hours (10,000 hours as said by Malcolm Gladwell)  or repeat the motion 50,000 times, and you will excel at it.  In many sports programs, the focus is on the physical and technical aspects.  The athletes constantly train to improve their technique to become the best they can be.  They go to practice and do drills to better their performance.

However, "Sports Psychology tells us that in order to develop into an outstanding athlete it takes 40% goal setting and motivation, 50% attitude, and 10% ability; yet we as coaches spend the majority of time working on the physical aspects but very little time on the mental" (Leo Brittain, Texas Coach, 2001).

Therefore, why is mental training component such a small component of most athletic programs?

I saw this video by Michael Jordan and wondered how can athletes be trained to deal with these issues.

These are the questions that I'm interested in:  ( I would really appreciate your answers to these questions)

  • How do you motivate an athlete?
  • How do you encourage an athlete to perservere or never give up?
  • What kind of coping skills should athletes learn to help them deal with setbacks?
  • Is a positive attitude innate, or can it be taught?

Thank you for reading and your presence at this beach retreat. You Rock! I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts in the comment section below.

See you at the beach!