Developing a Champion Mindset

Developing a Champion Mindset

Marysville, OH- In the world of sports, champions are not made overnight. It takes more than just physical prowess to reach the pinnacle of success. A championship mindset, one cultivated with dedication and unwavering determination, is often the secret ingredient that sets winners apart from the rest. Spencer Lee is one of the most prominent figures in wrestling today. He is a 3-time NCAA champion and a 2-time Hodge Trophy winner, posting a phenomenal 98-6 record, with 84 career bonus point wins. However, this success did not come without trials. 


Wrestling takes a physical toll on your body as match after match you are pushed to your absolute limit. In his junior year at the University of Iowa, after blowing out his ACL in the Big 10 Finals, it was his resilient mentality that pushed Spencer to stay in the fight. He continued to compete at the highest level, wrestling in the NCAA Championships with no ACLs in either knee, leading the Hawkeyes to a 2020 NCAA title. Spencer has shared his insights on what it takes to develop such a dynamic mindset and how to maintain perseverance through hardships. Lee's insights offer a valuable roadmap for not only thriving in sports but also in life. Incorporating these three points into your competition approach can impart an invaluable life lesson on how to consistently win against all odds. 



Positivity - Celebrating Achievements

“I’ve wrestled with ACLs being torn for multiple years in a row. The hardest thing about that is being positive. You can’t train the same. It’s harder, and you have to learn how to wrestle differently, but the most important part is staying positive every day,” shared Lee. One of the cornerstones of a championship mindset is unwavering positivity. No matter how daunting the challenges may seem, it's essential to maintain satisfaction with what you've accomplished. “Something I’ve always struggled with in my career is staying positive because I’m never satisfied with what I do, but having satisfaction with what you have done in the past is extremely important, and being extremely positive about what’s going to happen in the future is even more important.” By celebrating your achievements, you fuel the fire of determination to keep pushing forward. Lee is determined to stay positive as he continues to train to get himself back to the mat knowing that positivity acts as a powerful driving force that keeps you on the path to success.



Fear vs. Doubt - Harnessing Pre-Match Nerves

“Fear and nerves are a good thing if you can use them in a positive way, but doubt is the most dangerous thing you can let creep into your mind.” Before any competition, it's natural to experience pre-match nerves. These feelings of fear are a positive sign. They indicate that you care deeply about what you're doing. The key is to channel this fear constructively. That adrenaline sharpens your focus and prepares you for battle.

On the flip side, doubt is your worst enemy. It weakens your resolve and sows the seeds of defeat, even before you step onto the mat. Recognize the distinction between fear and doubt, and use fear as a source of energy rather than letting doubt chip away at your confidence. “For me, overcoming doubt is all about routine. No matter what, I know if I get through my routine when that next whistle blows, I’ll be ready to go.”



'Why Me' vs. 'Why Not Me' - The Power of Mindset

“A mentality that I had to adopt in my career was changing my attitude from  ‘why me’ to ‘why not me?’ Why can’t I be the first person to do this? Why not be the guy that's injured and does it anyway?” Your mindset plays a pivotal role in your journey to becoming a champion. A 'Why Me' attitude breeds self-pity and gives you a reason to lose. It's a self-sabotaging approach that can lead to failure. A 'Why Not Me' attitude empowers you to believe that you are more than capable of achieving your goals, even when faced with adversity. “I know I can do this, I’ve done it before.”

This mindset focuses on a position of "no regrets". It involves writing down your goals every day and continually seeking creative, unconventional, and positive ways to become better. The "Why Not Me" approach instills a sense of determination and a refusal to accept defeat. It fuels the desire to be the first person to reach your goals despite setbacks.

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