Performing Under Pressure
The World Athletics Championship (in Oregon) brings together some of the best athletes in track and field the world has to offer. The expectations at this type of sport event are incomparable. Some of these athletes have waited for years, some since childhood, to participate in the World Athletics Championship. For some, athletes who train most of their life for this one opportunity seems excessive. The perspective of the athlete is different, however. Each goal that is met brings about a new level of confidence and empowerment for these athletes. The rigorous training schedules, the sacrifices, and the mental discipline required for athletes to be successful at the world-class level seems to be worth the investment for these athletes. What sets apart these world-class athletes from the rest of the “pack”? I want to share 3 things that elevate these athletes to become world-class athletes.
Noah Lyles during the World Athletics Championship broke a record for the 200-meter dash that stood since 1996. Lyles faced many setbacks prior to the World Athletics Championship. Despite these setbacks, Lyles ran a race that will go down in history as one of the best 200-meter dash race of all times. Lyles said, “I was enjoying track again and just happy every day to be running.” Mastery is a term that means a person loves a sport apart from any rewards she may receive while performing the sport. Noah Lyles tells us that he started to “enjoy” the sport of sprinting again. Top performers in sports often carry this mindset. Before the lights, medals, and applause, these top performers always loved to compete.
Keely Hodgkinson-800-meter sprinter-advanced to the finals after a grueling race in the semi-finals. Keely’s competitors were ready to compete, and she faced her challengers with boldness and determination. Keely knew she would have to run one the best races she has run all year to advance the finals for the 800-meter dash. “I am healthy, my body is in one piece, ready to go and I’m just taking it round by round” Keely told reporters before the semi-final began. Top performers focus on what they can control rather than what they cannot control. This mindset gives athletes the confidence necessary to overcome negative thoughts they encounter before a big race.
The reporters for the World Athletics Championship continued to comment on the excitement and joy the 4×100 meter relay team from Spain showed after placing 5th in the semi-finals. Although this team did not qualify for the finals, the relay team had much to be thankful for. Spain, according to reporters, did not have a relay team qualify for the World Athletics Championship in almost 11 years. Moving onto the finals was not the focus at the end of this race, clearly. The relay team from Spain shows us how to be thankful even when the results of your performance do not meet some people’s expectations. Thankfulness creates passion for your sport.