Comebacks are inspiring stories of sports-lore.
All athletes dream of making those storied comebacks…
- A quarterback throwing the game-winning touchdown with no time left on the clock.
- A basketball player hitting two clutch free-throws at the end of a game to win a playoff game for his team.
- A baseball player hitting a walk-off home run against a long-time rival.
- A tennis player winning a tournament after being down 0-2 in a match.
Nonetheless, comebacks are relatively rare.
There is a major obstacle that makes comebacks rare, and contrary to the belief of many, it is not the other team or another opponent.
The obstacle in the way of making a comeback is a mental obstacle. In other words, your greatest opponent is not another competitor, it’s within you. Lack of belief, low confidence, inability to manage your emotions, difficulty with focusing, inability to rebound from mistakes, negative internal images and unproductive self-talk are obstacles that hurt performance and will interfere with your ability to make a comeback.
In terms of comebacks, there might be no bigger comeback than Tiger Woods winning the 2019 Masters Tournament. Woods’ victory was impressive for a couple of reasons.
One aspect of Woods’ comeback was within the tournament itself. Woods didn’t take the lead until the 12th hole of the final round. For 66 holes, Woods kept focused on his game instead of all the possible distractions that battle for a golfer’s headspace.
The second aspect that made Woods’ victory impressive was that the win highlighted an amazing career comeback.
Woods hadn’t won a major tournament in 11 years. Woods has experienced a lot of adversity over the years; numerous injuries including spinal fusion surgery, a series of personal problems that were played out in the media, a lengthy layoff, poor past tournament play and a ranking that dropped outside the top 1,000 in 2017.
Despite all the adversity Woods faced, he maintained a steadfast belief in his ability to come back and win.
WOODS: “I did think it would come.https://edition.cnn.com/2019/04/09/sport/the-masters-augusta-golf-major-2019-preview-spt-intl/index.html I knew it was in me, now did I know it was going to be this week? No. But I had a good feeling that the way I was shaping the golf ball that I was going to be in the mix.“
The keys to Woods’ comeback were to let go of the past, stay focused in the moment and enjoy the challenge of competing.
WOODS: “This will be up there with one of the hardest I’ve had to win because of what transpired over the last couple of years. It was just an amazing buzz out there, trying to figure out what was going on but to stay present and focused on what I was trying to do. I kind of liked it.”
With the victory, Woods climbed to No.6 in the world and won his fifth major of his career but, quite possibly, the biggest victory was the comeback itself.
What will your comeback look like?
Tardio Tip: How to Create your Comeback Story
Woods has provided an effective recipe for making a comeback: let go of the past, focus on the moment and enjoy the challenge.
Comebacks are all about focus. One strategy for minimizing distraction is to continually ask yourself, “What is important in this moment?”
Staying focused in the moment allows you to performance your best and puts you on the best possible path to creating your comeback story.
Related Article: Tiger Wood’s Rise Above Athletic Struggle
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