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MENTALLY TOUGH - How To Be More Resilient In Sports

“We’re looking for great competitors. And that’s the guy’s that have grit. The mindset that they’re always going to succeed, that they’ve got something to prove. They’re resilient, they’re not going to let setbacks hold them back. They’re not going to be deterred by challenges and hurdles and things… It’s that attitude – we refer to it as grit”

-Pete Carroll

Resiliency is defined as “the capacity to recover quickly from difficulty; toughness”.

Because sports are filled with constant challenge, adversity and failure, being ‘resilient’ is a pre-requisite to success.

The origin of the word finds it’s root in the Latin word resilire’ which means to “spring back”. Springing back means to resume form and function ‘quickly’ not slowly. Not to wine and cry. Not to make excuses. Not to give up for awhile but to ‘spring back’ immediately.

Being resilient means to be mentally tough. To experience adversity. To make mistakes. To fail and then to ‘spring back’ in to action. To your original form of optimism and confidence.

Resilient athletes have the courage to put forth maximum effort with no guarantee of an outcome. They are willing to fail, and they are not afraid of what others think or say about them if they fail. When they fail they resume their original form unaffected by their failure. They learn quickly from their mistakes and try even harder not to make the same mistake again.

An athlete with a resilient mindset understands that growth is a process. They understand that failure and adversity are requirements for growth. As a result, they don’t view failure in the same way as most people do. They don’t see it as a disappointment. Rather they see it as feedback. They believe that there is NO such thing as failure. When they do fail, they interpret it solely as an opportunity to learn and improve.

Resilient athletes compete against their own ‘inner scoreboard not the external one that spectators see.

NFL Coach – Pete Carroll in his book Win Forever suggests, “My opponents are not my enemies. My opponents are the people who offer me the opportunity to succeed. The tougher my opponents, the more they present me with an opportunity to live up to my full potential and play my best.”

The key to mastering a ‘resilient mind set’ is to not have a victim mentality. To be 100% accountable for everything that happens and avoid blaming anyone or making excuses for anything.

Failure fuels top athletes to work harder. To seek coaching and to learn more and to get better! Resilient athletes look forward to the next opportunity to practice and compete. The next opportunity to get better!

NFL football player, Jerome Bettis spoke of 4 Keys to Greatness in his Hall of Fame induction speech in 2015.

4 Keys to Greatness

1. You must be willing to sacrifice

2. You must be willing to endure pain

3. You must have the ability to recover from failure

4. You must LOVE what you do. If you don’t, you won’t be willing to do 1,2 and 3 above.

Consider the above 4 items… Three of the four Keys above relate to the need for resiliency!

How Resilient are you?

Stay connected with me so that you can receive future blog posts and valuable content including our future blog articles relating to this topic - 4 KEYS To Becoming A More Resilient Athlete so that you can reach your fullest potential in sports and ultimately in LIFE!

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Eric Smith is a former NCAA Division-1 Quarterback and High School Football Coach. Eric is the owner and director of Winning Edge, an On-Line Quarterback Training Academy where he coaches and mentors aspiring quarterbacks. He also hosts Quarterback / Receiver Skill Development Camps as well as teaching leadership to sports organizations throughout North Carolina as well as a west coast swing to Northern, CA.

Eric is also a certified Leadership Speaker, Trainer and Coach for the

John Maxwell Leadership Team

To connect with Coach Smith visit or email him at follow on Twitter at @winningedgeqbr

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