A Champion’s Mentality

Dan Abrahams is a global sport psychologist helping people to high perform. Get more from Dan at www.danabrahams.com

Champions tend to be a different breed. They are the uncommon living a life less ordinary. They suffer pain in the moment, every day, for the pleasure of a far off result. It’s not easy being a champion. Here’s a few ideas to exercise your podium winning mentality…

Profile the Next Level

Champions are champions because they obsess the next level. They carry with them an image of what better looks like and what better feels like. And they play this picture daily – it’s a vivid film that punctures their conscious mind several times in 24 hours. They get excited about this picture…and they yearn to perform in the style in which they envision.

Within this picture lies detail – champions are so often details people. They dot the i’s and cross the t’s. They care about the small things in their technique, mentality and game knowledge. They are concerned by the minutest tactical problem. And it is this focus on the detail that encourages excellence.

You know a champion wants to win…craves the victory. But a champion knows that to win he or she must sweat the performance and subsequently the process. Champions look to scaffold down performance to the factors that make up their competitive thoughts, feelings and behaviors. They concern themselves with……..

Process Plus Performance

Champions are clever. They bold and bright and brazen at times but they are also cunning and clever. They know that it isn’t tub thumping passion that drives them to victory…it isn’t primarily a will to win that earns the Gold or the world record time. It’s the process. Yes, that’s right – the boring old process. Yawn!

Or is it yawn. The very best love to master their sport – they have a rage to master. They want to be quicker, faster, and stronger – they want to lead higher, longer and further. And they know to do this they have to obsess the process. The runs, the body shape, the positioning, the turning, the body weight shift, the self-talk., the body language, the rotation, the arm movements, the uncocking and unbowing, the steady eyes, the dead aim, the right time to drink, the wrong time to tackle, the vocals, the step forward, the step back….the process, the process, the process, the process, the process….

…because they KNOW that….

Outcomes Take Care of Themselves

Champions are flexible of mind as well as of body. They understand that they have to remove their focus from outcome on a daily basis because the end game will take care of itself.

“If I strive to master my sport every day. If I set my focus on the process of performance I know that the outcome will take care of itself. The better I get at the process the better my outcomes will be.

I look at my outcomes and I want them. The trophy, the Gold medal, a spot on the first team. Money. Adored by my fans. I want these. But I can’t obsess them. I have to discipline my mind to obsess the process. I have to urge myself on with my technique, my tactical knowledge and execution, my skills, my mindset and my physicality.

These are the things that will deliver the outcome. I have to get better and better and better and better at these daily.”

Which Requires…Commitment Everyday

Champions don’t have want and will coursing through their veins every day. Sure, some days they wake up and they want it. Boy do they want it. They have the urge to master…to get better…to improve…to develop…to learn.

But everyday can’t be like that. That isn’t real life. On these days they have to remind themselves why they are doing what they are doing. Why they are exceeding the pain barrier. Why they are knackering themselves out. Why they are paying attention to the minutest parts of their technique. Why they are getting out of bed. They have to direct their focus to the end game…the outcomes they so desire.

And if the ‘why’ technique doesn’t work then hey, they have to take the advice of a well-known sports brand. They have to ‘Just Do It’. They have to just switch off their mind and get out of bed and get to the training ground or the practice ground or the court or the court or the pitch. When they are there and when they have switched on the momentum of mastery then they will slot their brain into gear. Then they will be in full flow. Then adrenaline and testosterone and dopamine will fire through their bodies to create the commitment they need. The commitment of a champion.

Now that is the sport psychology you need. Don’t compromise…that is the sport psychology of a champion.


Dan Abrahams

Dan Abrahams is a global sport psychologist who works alongside some of the leading players, teams, coaches and organisations in the world. He is known for his passion and ability to de-mystify sport psychology, as well as his talent for creating easy to understand and simple to use techniques and performance philosophies. A former professional golfer and PGA golf coach Dan has a First Class Honours degree in psychology and Masters degree in sport psychology. Academically he is visiting lecturer at several universities and he holds registration with the HCPC (meaning he is legally safe to practice as a psychologist). Dan works in all sport but specialises in football/soccer and golf. He is Lead Psychologist for England Golf and he works with players from leading amateur through to Tour players. In football/soccer psychology he is regarded as a leader in the field. He has some of the leading turnaround case studies in Premier League history and he has written two international bestselling books. One of these books, Soccer Tough, has been heralded one of the most important books in football. He currently works with players, teams and organisations across 'Planet Football.' Dan also works in the Corporate Sector delivering his sport psychology techniques and philosophies to individuals and groups.