Mental Edge: How to stay committed when results are subpar

Photo: Howard Lyon

You have seen professional athletes credit their success to hard work. And you have probably read countless motivational sayings that espouse the virtues of hard work. If hard work is the key to athletic success, why do some athletes give up on hard work and lose motivation?

There are several reasons why athletes stop working hard in their sport … Too much pressure, no longer interested in competing, injuries, not playing to one’s potential, etc. But the biggest reason athletes give up on working hard is that they don’t see results immediately. You set your sights high convinced you will accomplish your goals. You push in practice like never before and feel determined to have a breakout season.

But after a few mediocre performances, your motivation lessens…

Your intensity in practices lessens. You start to question if all the hard work is worth it and you fall back into relying on talent alone. Unfortunately, some athletes don’t understand that success isn’t just a matter of hard work … It is a matter of hard work over a significant period of time combined the right attitude. In order to sustain your motivation and patience through the ups and downs, you need to be mentally strong and determined.

Hard work is just like it sounds — hard, but the rewards are huge.

How to stay committed to your sport and see results:

  • You need a goal or something to works towards…
  • You need to put in quality effort and maintain a proper focus…
  • You need to hold steady, be persistent, and keep working when you hit rough patches…
  • You need to visualize reaching your goal and live it every day.
  • Above all, you need to believe that your hard work will pay off eventually.
  • Accomplishing your goal is a journey, no different than driving your car from coast to coast. Just as gas fuels a car, hard work fuels performance. But you can’t travel a long distance without constantly re-fueling.
  • If you want to accomplish your long-term goals, you need to maintain your intensity, drive, and positive attitude over the long haul.
  • With hard work and perseverance over time, you give yourself the best chance to reach that desired destination.
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