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How Super Champions Face Challenges

Aug 07 2018

How Super Champions Face Challenges

How do you face challenges? It can be tempting to be disheartened and demotivated but viewing roadblocks as stepping stones instead can make us tougher athletes and stronger people.  An article by Pecel, Collins, and MacNamara in Frontiers in Psychology found that Super Champions (“great” athletes) view challenges positively—even before they encounter them.


The authors studied the experiences of athletes across three differing levels of performance; Super Champions, Champions, and Almosts.  After interviewing the participating athletes, the authors compiled the experiences and began to see patterns of behavior that differentiated the Super Champions from the Champions and the Almosts.


One of clear distinguishers was simply how Super Champions faced challenges.  Notably, they often had a preexisting attitude of learning from challenges.  While some Champions had this outlook, Almosts, on the other hand, “seemed almost entirely reactive.”  Simply put, Super Champions are distinguished in that they view challenges as “catalysts for their development rather than roadblocks.”

Lesson Number One:  Before you face a challenge, choose to see it as an opportunity to grow. 


In addition, the Super Champions demonstrated a high level of commitment to their sport.   They were internally driven, very focused on details and improvement, and sometimes, in their retrospective view, a bit too critical of themselves.  In contrast, Champions and Almosts tended to be less committed, viewed challenges more negatively, and did not cope well.  They also were motivated to improve by comparison with others rather than on an internal drive.

Lesson Number Two:  Be whole-heartedly committed.

Lesson Number Three:  Be internally driven to improve yourself.

(Don’t be mainly motivated by outdoing your rivals.)  Work to be your best.


I hope the above study recap was intruiging and motivating.  (For the full study, please click here.)  And if you are an athlete looking for tools as you conquer your next challenge, you can find our comfortable and highly effective padding here.  Our final thoughts for the day?  Embody the Olympic Motto:  Faster, Higher, Stronger.