grit_boxerWhat is grit? Grit is the strength of mind that permits a person to withstand pain and overcome struggles. Grit is essential for every athlete. It is vital to your success to be mentally prepared. Athletics supply one of the best places to cultivate grit and determination. The most successful athlete will not always be the most talented. A successful athlete will be able to push past pain, never quit and face their fears.

Some people naturally have more grit, but it can also be learned. The famous head coach of the Green Bay Packers Vince Lombardi once said “mental toughness is many things and rather difficult to explain. Its qualities are sacrifice and self denial. Also, most importantly, it is combined with a perfectly disciplined will that refuses to give in. It’s a state of mind-you could call it ‘character in action.'” Wikipedia defines it as “a collection of attributes that allow a person to persevere through difficult circumstances(such as difficult training or difficult competitive situations in games) and emerge without losing confidence.”

The difference between someone who succeeds in their sports goals and someone who does not is clearly a lack of mental strength, or grit. This can be developed through giving 100% in every workout no matter how you feel, never miss a workout, bounce back after mistakes, perform all required reps rep even when less is easier, show up early for your workouts, stay late, be consistent and keep a positive mental attitude. Creating mental toughness occurs through creating good habits. Motivation wanes over time and varies from day to day. You won’t always feel like giving your best effort day in and day out, but this is where grit occurs.

Most athletes do not reach their max potential because they lack consistency, commitment, toughness and discipline that comes from having grit. Many athletes who demonstrate less ability in a sport at an early age turn out to be some of the best athletes because they were forced to develop grit. They are usually smaller, slower and picked last. Things did not come easily to them so they fought much harder for playing time. A great example of grit was when Michael Jordan bounced back after not making his high school varsity basketball team. He was cut from the team and was absolutely devastated. He could have allowed that to keep him down. Instead he diligently trained and persevered until he made the team. This obstacle developed his grit and he eventually went on to become one of the best basketball players in history. To be successful in sports you have to not only train your body, but your mind as well!

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