5 Tips On How To Think Like a Champion From An Elite Sports Psychologist

how to think like a champion

These are five simple tips that you can implement today in order to allow yourself to have a growth mindset and figure out how to think like a champion.

In order to become a champion in sport and in life, you need to have a strong mind. Bar none. There’s no if’s ands or buts about it. If you’re going to become an elite athlete you can’t be soft between the ears.

One of the hardest traits that elite athletes have a hard time figuring out is how to think like a champion. It’s difficult for many because a champions mindset isn’t something that you can just pick up. The ability of how to think like a champion is not just a weight on the dumbbell rack that you can  just pick up and start using.  It’s an ability that takes experience, desicipline, dedication – and most of all, belief – to develop. 

Dr. Bob Rotella, who is one of the world’s best sports psychologists, has been studying his entire professional career trying to create a blueprint for success when it comes to helping athletes figure out how to think like a champion.

A must read for every athlete

Through his experiences with elite athletes, Rotella started to notice that they had several things in common. In How Champions Think: In Sports and Life, Dr. Rotella documents those observations and provides you with a plan to change your mindset into how to think like a champion athlete.

Below are five lessons that Rotella preaches that every elite athlete should strive to follow in order to develop a champion mindset.  Study these lessons and try to apply them on a daily basis so that you can start to figure out how to think like a champion and make your goals become a reality.

5 Tips On How To Think Like A Champion And Achieve Your Goals

how to think like a champion mindset build your identity

1. Build Your Identity | How To Think Like A Champion

The first step that you have to take towards developing a champion’s mindset,  you have to honestly identify yourself and figure out what type of player or athlete you are.  Then, you need to identify what type of athlete you want to be.

Once you’ve identified what type of player you want to be, you have to work religiously every day in becoming that player or athlete.  You have to see who you want to become, visualize how you’re going to develop into that person, and then working your tail off to make your dreams become a reality.

If you’re having trouble trying to figure it out, take a step back and figure out another athlete’s image that you would like to have. Ask yourself: Who do you look up to? Which player(s) in your sport do you respect and want to play like? Once you figure that out, make a plan to work everyday towards being your best version so that you can develop that image for yourself.

how to think like a champion trust the process

2. Trust the Process | How To Think Like A Champion

A huge part to becoming a successful athlete is realizing that success doesn’t happen overnight.  It’s a long, grueling process that is going to push you to your limits physically, mentally, and spiritually.  You’re going to exhaust yourself to limits that you can’t imagine existed.

So, in order to push yourself to your limits and breakthrough your plateaus, you need to set your goals, create a plan in achieving those goals, and trust the process in reaching them.  Your path to your personal development is an ongoing journey that never stops. And, that’s the most important point that you need to understand.

You can’t become fixated on material possessions or being notarized for your achievements.  Instead, you want to become fixated on the intangibles that are going to make you a better player by the end of the day.  

In order to figure out how to think like a champion, you’re going to need to understand that your success is determined by your mindset towards being successful. Once you can grasp that concept, you need to act like a champion and have the required discipline needed to work towards achieving that success.

Don’t chase the shiny ball down the street.  Stop and decide to focus on what is going to make you better today – and understand that your path to success will have countless peaks and valleys along the way.

how to think like a champion athlete having a growth mindset

3. Have a Growth Mindset | How To Think Like A Champion

If you want to continue to make improvements within yourself on a daily basis, it’s imperative that you have a growth mindset.  You have to understand that skills are not “god-given” and that you can learn how to do anything despite your level of “talent”.

You can literally overcome many hurdle that you want to in your life as long as you’re willing to understand that every problem  can be solved.  Some problems that you experience may be bigger than others, but they can all be solved.  As long as your have the discipline and stay persistent towards solving it, you’ll get better.  

If your foot speed stinks or you need to work on your explosiveness off of the line,  you just have to understand that its going to take a lot of practice and dedication on your part to work on it.

Having a growth mindset is simply realizing that you can overcome. Have optimism towards every hurdle you face and the inner self-confidence that you can overcome them.

how to think like a champion fail for success

4. Fail Your Way to Success | How To Think Like A Champion

If you want to start practicing how champions think, Dr. Rotella wants you to start getting comfortable with failure.  You need to understand and accept that failure is going to be a part of your daily life as you travel down your path to success. Champions don’t see failure as a let down because they don’t amount to being successful, they instead see failure as an opportunity to learn from their mistakes or shortcomings.

Then, after they realize why they failed, champions start to make the necessary adjustments and work on their flaws so that they don’t fail again. If you want to understand how to think like a champion, you have to understand the value of discipline, persistence and patience. You need to realize that you’re going to fail a ton and that there are going to be days where you take a step backwards.  

What champions understand is that failure is not personal. It’s going to happen.  For some of you, it will happen much more frequently for you than for others.  

However, that’s not important. What’s important is that you realize that failure is temporary.  Your failures may last for an hour, a day, a week, a month, or a year – and when you’re going through them, it may feel like they’re never going to end.

But, always understand that your failures will always be temporary.  You will overcome them with persistence and discipline.  Think like a champion and understand that overcoming your struggles will be what defines you.

how to think like a champion athlete surround yourself with better people

5. Surround Yourself With People Who Make You Better | How To Think Like A Champion

Rome wasn’t built in a day and you can’t achieve your goals all by yourself.  If you’re going to achieve great things, you’re going to need two things.  You’re going to need people who are going to support and push you to your next level.  And, you’re going to need to surround yourself with people who are more skilled and more intelligent than you are.

That’s how champions think.  Champions try to figure out how to navigate their way into playing, lifting, practicing, and studying with people who are better than them.  A champion always wants to be outside of their comfort zone and be pushed to their limit.  And, as Dr. Rotella points out in his book, champions understand that being the best one in the room is detrimental to their development.

The best athletes always surround themselves with the best coaches and always look for a challenge. A champion’s mindset is always seeking for an opportunity to get better and not an opportunity to be the best in the room at the moment.

So, if you want to be a champion, you have to figure out how to think like a champion. That requires you finding your identity, sticking to the process and understanding that you’re going to fail, and adopting a growth mindset by surrounding yourself with people who are better than you.  

Stick to these tips on how to think like a champion and you will be on your way towards becoming your best.