Right mindset, encouragement fuels athletes’ motivation

Sophomore Anna Hollo prepares to throw the ball back in play during a soccer practice. (Photo by Joey Shapiro)

Hearing the sound of running and hearing your team yell “come on” makes your thoughts spiral into panic and worry, but with the help of your team you can overcome those challenges and be successful and win. A lot goes into any team being successful, though, including not just a strong team and a good coach, but also a winning mindset.

Junior soccer player Conter Cornwell said that the most important part to an athlete’s mentality is to focus on goals and what needs to be done rather than past mistakes.  It’s important to her to focus on the game and scoring points instead of the points her team lost, she explained.

“There is a lot of communication between the team members, but I also have to stay focused on myself,” Cornwell said.

A major aspect of a game is coming back from a loss, she said. Once you get into one frame of mind, it’s easy to slip into a negative headspace, but athletes work hard to keep from letting it get them down, she said.

“To work hard and see results makes you feel like you can do anything you put your mind to,” she explained.

Junior soccer player Matthew Arace also said that the key to coming back from losing a game is to focus on what can still be achieved instead of past mistakes.

“Whenever I find myself losing, I frequently have to overcome a mounting fear and panic, but doing so is critical in staying focused and be able to rally back,”  Arace said.

Teamwork plays an important part in the mindset of an athlete, he said. Arace explained that a good team pushes a player to reach individual and team goals, and the more bonded and close knit a team will help in the long run.

Cornwell also said that team spirit and others working hard around her to perform better and play her best soccer. A team is meant to push their fellow players to work harder and achieve their goals, she added.

“When I’m in a good mood and my team is in a good mood, we play the best and seeing them do well makes me want to do well,” Cornwell said.

Sophomore basketball player Keir Armstrong explained that the older players of his team help him stay motivated. He explained that the upperclassmen have helped him overcome external pressures because they have played with him for years and have helped him grow as a player by motivating him and helping him prepare for important games.

Coaching also plays a role in a team’s success: varsity girls tennis coach Shelby Cheses said that a coach’s job is to keep players focused and motivated toward accomplishing their goals.

“We set team goals and individual goals at the beginning of the season,” Cheses said.

Cheses added that her effort in working on team goals for players helps them become an even better team that works hard while together.

“I try to get them going to matches thinking they can win,” she said.

Arace said that there are many aspects to an athlete’s mindset that are vital in team success.

”My teammates, my goals, and my effort all motivate me to win,” Arace said. “I think that we all play for each other and our bond as a team always keeps me focused to win.”