3 Ways Champions Succeed in the Face of Adversity

Volt Family Member Northamptonshire Steelbacks crowned champions of the NatWest T20 Blast.

Volt Family Member Northamptonshire Steelbacks crowned champions of the NatWest T20 Blast.

Adversity is a necessary part of sport. Without challenges there are no opportunities to grow, to learn, to develop. In essence, without adversity where is the fun? Yet many athletes view adversity in a bad light and as a result they are not prepared for when it comes. Below are three ways champions succeed when challenges and adverse situations appear:

1. Champions Accept What They Can and Cannot Control.

They do not get hung up on things they are unable to do anything about. For example, when they make mistakes, they are able to hit the reset button and move forward. They have trained themselves to let adversity come and go, without it negatively impacting their performance. Instead of trying to control the outcomes, or even the past play, champions remain focused on their own attitude, effort, and emotional response to things that happen on the field or on the the court. 

2. Champions See Adversity as an Opportunity. 

Elite athletes seek out challenges because they represent opportunities to overcome obstacles, to persevere, to achieve something greater; in short, the fun is in the struggle. Challenges bring out a champion's competitive spirit, which in turn brings out the best performances.  

3. Champions Do the Next Right Thing When Faced with Adversity.

Have you ever seen a great player make a mistake? Sure you have, but watch what they do NEXT. More often than not, elite players find themselves making big plays after poor ones. They move on to the next play and put 100% of themselves into the challenge. Champions do the next right thing, which means putting the past to rest and refocusing on the upcoming opportunity. 


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Brandyn Fisher, PhD is a guest contributor to the Volt blog. He is the founder and CEO of American Sport Psychology. He holds multiple advanced degrees from West Virginia University, including a PhD in Sport and Exercise Psychology, and a Masters in Counseling. Learn more at @AmerSportPsych.