“The road to athletic greatness is not marked by perfection but the ability to constantly overcome adversity.”
This slogan was a Nike advertising campaign that provides a powerful and motivational message for all athletes.
Why all athletes?
The reason it applies to all athletes is that all athletes will struggle at some point.
The only difference is that some athletes get stuck in the struggle while other athletes fight through the struggle.
Those athletes that find themselves stuck in their athletic struggles tend to be focused on the struggle itself which intensifies the magnitude and duration of the struggle.
Some athletes can’t envision a way out of the athletic hole they are in.
When stuck in the struggle, all efforts to dig themselves out or rise above the struggle seem futile.
Practices feel useless so athletes give a little less effort and their focus is just not there to develop the physical and mental skills needed to get back on track.
As preparation lessens, confidence suffers and the struggling athlete remains stuck in the endless rut of under-performance.
Tiger Woods’ struggles have been well documented…
Woods, early in his career, was the premier golfer in the sport holding the No. 1 ranking for 683 weeks, 281 of those weeks were consecutive.
Woods’ golf resume includes:
- PGA Rookie of the year in 1996, 107 professional wins
- 80 PGA Tour victories
- 14 major championship titles
Woods appeared unbeatable and then adversity struck… Woods’ game struggled mightily as he battled injuries, technique issues, personal troubles and the rise of many outstanding younger golfers.
Due to all those struggles, Woods dropped as low as 1,199th in the rankings with his last victory coming in 2013.
Despite frustration with his play on the Tour and a few breaks from playing, Woods remained determined, pushed forward, kept working on his golf game, as well as his mental game and relied on the support of others when times were tough.
WOODS: “The people who are close to me saw the struggles and what I was going through, and some of the players that I’m pretty close to, they’ve really helped throughout this process and the last few years. Their support and some of those things that they said coming off that last green meant a lot to me.”
The result of his perseverance and hard work was a breakthrough 2-stroke victory at the 2018 Tour Championship for his 80th Major title.
WOODS: “At the beginning of the year, [winning a major]certainly that was a tall order. But as the year progressed, I proved that I could play, and I found a swing and put pieces together, and I knew I could do it again.”
There are some valuable lessons from your personal struggles:
- You can learn from the struggle and improve your game.
- The struggle can make you mentally tougher.
- Overcoming the struggle can strengthen your confidence in your ability to overcome adversity in the future.
Tiger Woods’ recent victory symbolizes to all struggling athletes that there is hope with the help of perseverance, determination, support from others and patience.
You, too, can see your way beyond your struggles by focusing on the big picture and not the struggle itself.
Tardio Tip: How to Rise Above YOUR Personal Athletic Struggles
It is human to struggle and it is human for struggle to negatively affect you.
However, there is a difference between thinking about struggling and ruminating about those struggles.
The only way past those struggles is to pause and think of potential solutions to get back on track.
Do you need to adjust a part of your game?
Do you need to strengthen you mental game?
Do you just need to be more patient and keep grinding?
By focusing on solutions, you will be able to persevere, improve your game, dig your way out of the hole and learn from the struggle.
Related Article: Great Expectations: The Sports Performance Dilemma
Identify mistakes you may be making in your pregame mental preparation. Download our Free Pregame Mental Preparation Tips!
Interested in upping your Mental Sports Performance? Free 15-Minute Mental Coaching Session
Parents learn more about Mental Coaching: About Mental Coaching