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The Mind of a Winner.

Posted Feb 02 2009 11:41pm

If you’re like most people, you enjoyed a thrilling Superbowl game yesterday.  In the meantime, Federer lost to Nadal again. Of course, if you understand (sports) psychology, you could say it was a foregone conclusion.

Say what you will about Nadal’s ability to exploit Federer’s backhand; Federer’s biggest obstacle is himself.

For years, Federer was Top Dog; in fact, you could make a convincing argument that he’s the greatest player of the modern game.  He was used to winning, often breaking back (coming back from a match point to to overwhelm and eventually beat his opponent). But after Nadal beat him in their version of the Thrilla in Manila, Federer came out a different player.  Sure, he’d lost before - what competitor hasn’t? - but this time, he’d given his best, multiple times - and come out the loser.

Federer’s quote at the Australian Open trophy presentation is noteworthy: “God, it’s killing me.”  What competitor hasn’t felt the frustration at being unable to pull off a win because they can’t get out of their own head?

Federer is now in an interesting position - that of the hungry contender, eager to get his title (and top billing) back.  But this isn’t what he’s used to.  He’s not used to being second-best; he’s used to winning.  And until he’s able to shrug off his self-concept of being “second-best”, that’s all he’ll be.

Do you have the mind of a winner?  Are you willing to do what it takes to be Top Dog in your nutrition and exercise program?  Or are you content with being “second-best?”

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