I have spent the last few days reflecting on athletes and their sports. I was very fortunate to go to see my son boxing in the Irish Senior Boxing completion. Christopher spent the last year training like the rest of the competitors, focusing and getting into a mind-set ready for the senior’s boxing competition. I was very taken by the resilience shown on that night by all the boxers who fought. What stood out about them was that for some it was a few minutes and their fight was stopped due to an injury. A year preparing and it was all over in three minutes. Others went the three rounds and won or lost depending on their score. Some were to fight in another round of the Nationals, others to return home to fight another time.
It is natural to experience immediate negative emotions when something goes wrong; however, resilient athletes do not allow these emotions to linger. I witnessed these athletes experience their disappointment, anger and frustration. I also watched them overcoming these emotions, focusing on how to bounce back.
Successful athletes understand that things happen during competitions that are unplanned. Sometimes athletes themselves make mistakes. Other times, the environment (weather or equipment), a competitor, or even an official can knock an athlete off track. Successful athletes do not dwell on these mistakes or mishaps. They quickly refocus on the present and what they need to do next.
My other sons are also involved in competitive sports. Kickboxing is Stephen sport and for Aidan it is GAA. It does not matter what the sport is the frustrations and disappointments are the same. The winning part is easy. Being able to bounce back and compete another day is the key to success. That is how I define a successful athlete.