By Greg Chertok, Director of Mental Training at CourtSense, a high performance junior tennis academy in Bergen County, NJ, as well as private consultant with Telos Sport Psychology in the greater NY area. Greg has a Masters of Education in Counseling/Sport Psychology from Boston University and is a certified consultant with the Association for Applied Sport Psychology. He has worked with athletes from the junior to Olympic level.
As Marcus Luttrell, former U.S. Navy Seal and author of “Lone Survivor”, had once said, “If you tell yourself you can do anything, and no matter how many times you get hit – no matter how many times you go down – even if you’re shaken up, you shake it off, you get back up, and you come at it with everything you’ve got, eventually you’re going to pass it.”
I always appreciate the comparison of athletics to the military realm – many of the themes relevant to one area are neatly applicable to the other. The focus, the preparation, the self-belief, the overcoming of various obstacles – maintaining a high level of these qualities is required in each realm.
For those of us who feel in a performance slump, or have lost badly in consecutive tournaments, or have been injured regularly, one of the most difficult things to do is “never give up” in subsequent practices & competitions. That is, when things aren’t going well, it can be challenging to display perseverance.
It’s easy to believe in success, to trust your process, to stick with your game plan, and to stay focused on your goals when things are going well. It becomes harder to do this when things are going poorly.
But it’s likely even more important to display perseverance – the willingness to “stick with it” and continue putting forth full effort – when things aren’t going well. How else will we overcome failures if not with a perseverant attitude?
When we begin to believe that failure makes us stronger, and learning from failure helps us grow (both of these things are true), we maintain the mindset of embracing challenges. We continue striving for greatness – rather than avoiding failure – knowing that in the process of stretching / reaching for more than we’ve currently got, we grow and develop.