Amazing Examples of Mental Strength in Sports

By Jim Hickey | Sports Psychology

Confident, Consistent, Clears

Join International sports psychologist for show jumpers Jim Hickey on a journey to exceed your expectations in the ring.

Sep 14

Roger Federer, considerably the greatest tennis player in history, is one example of amazing mental strength in sports. Before claiming seven Wimbledon titles, he unluckily lost in the first round of Wimbledon during his first three years of playing.

Athlete Danielle Ballengee, who slipped and fell down a 60-foot cliff while training, suffered from broken pelvis and got stranded in the Utah outdoors for two days.  But her experience didn’t discourage her. After only 150 days of recovery, she was able to finish a 60-mile adventure race which included kayaking, running and mountain biking among others.

These are just two examples of athletes who exuded amazing mental strength in sports. Being mentally strong is as important as being physically strong when you’re an athlete. Below are six ways to have mental strength in sports.

Become Mentally Flexible

If you want to have a better chance at winning, you have to be very flexible. You should have the ability to accept the bad and still be able to show class and non-defensiveness. Great leaders are known to absorb negativity and stress with class and, at times humour.

If things don’t go their way, they will not feel bad about it; instead, they will just let it sink in for a moment, shrug it off and look for new, alternative ways to solve the problem. Even when things go wrong, the world still carrys on. So should you.

Become More Responsive

When you’re flexible, you should also be responsive. Always be in the zone, engaging and connecting even though you are under pressure. You should be able to find the opportunities when facing problems as well as taking the challenges and threats with open arms.

You should know and understand that problems will always come. When you are game-ready, you can easily come up with ideas on how to solve these problems.

Become Physically Strong

Being mentally tough means you also have to be physically tough. You need to exert amazing force when the pressure kicks in and you have to push yourself further when taking down the odds. Getting tired is not an excuse; look for ways or even inspiration so you can keep on going even if it looks like you’re on the losing end. There’s nothing more shameful than an athlete who quits in the middle of the game.

Have Courage & Ethics

If you know the rules then you have to stick to them. A mentally-strong athlete has the courage and willingness to do the right thing without compromising the organisation or his/her team.

Sometimes you will find yourself in a situation where you can unethically bring yourself to the top, and it can be very tempting. But when you have the courage to do the right thing, you won’t be blinded by it.

Be Resilient

Nothing should stop you from trying, not even defeat. Being resilient means you have to be reassuring to yourself and be able to rebound from the pits of loss, defeat and disappointment. You should always remember that everyone makes mistake. Instead of being bitter, you should stand up, brush yourself off and never stop until you get what you came for.

Always Keep Your Head Up

One constant thing about sports is that someone will always lose (even in draws). If you’re on the losing end of the game, don’t let losing bring your spirit down. Always keep your head up and show sportsmanship. There’s nothing worse than an athlete who can't accept defeat. Loss will 100% come so be mentally prepared for the day it does come and take it in your stride. Focus on how to be better – and win next time.

If you want to become a more mentally strong athlete, you need to have these traits and practice them at all the time.

Are you looking for a show jumping sports psychologist? Contact Jim Hickey today and unleash your true show jumping potential. 

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About the Author

Jim Hickey is an author, business mentor and international peak performance for show jumpers.