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Achievement drive
Goal setting
competitiveness in sport  

What being competitive means

Switzerland’s tennis legend Roger Federer exemplifies what being competitive means in tennis. He has won 17 Grand Slam singles titles, has been ranked No. 1 in the world for over 300 weeks and in 36 straight Grand Slams reached the quarterfinals or better.   

Being competitive means being motivated to win and dreaming of lifting the trophies. It means being a perfectionist and wanting to improve continually. It means controlling your emotions, and as Roger Feder says, not getting too overexcited.


It means managing your fear of losing and managing battles in your head during times when things aren't going so well so that you believe that you can win even if you are not playing really well.

It means gritting your teeth and hanging in there and finding a way to win. Winning has been described as "playing out of one's mind" and "over one's head". The athlete loses himself or herself in the action, their awareness becomes heightened, and analysis, anxiety and self-conscious thought are forgotten.

Keys to being competitive

Here are some keys to being competitive and aggressive to think about and measure yourself against.

  Have you analyzed stats about your strengths and weaknesses in relation to other athletes and identified where you need to improve to gain competitive edge?  
  In competition, do you focus on performing well and doing your best rather than winning? Focusing on winning will do little to help you win.  
  Are you able to control your explanations for winning and losing--give yourself full credit for your wins and give your opponents credits for their wins?  
  Have you prepared well and do you enjoy the buzz from competing and performing well in front of others?  
  How confident are you of your ability to win and maintain hope and optimism even if you are not performing at your best?  
  How capable are you of putting fear of losing out of your mind and allowing yourself to be immersed in the action?  


Watch this video

Watch this video by Martin Hager talking about the psychology of champion athletes. 


Read this book

Read Mind Gym : An Athlete's Guide to Inner Excellence by Gary Mack and David Casstevens to learn more about the mental aspects of competitiveness.