Teaching the Winner’s Mindset

In Mental Mastery by admin1 Comment

I received a question from a subscriber the other day. He is a coach for a high school wrestling team and was curious as to what can be done to teach the winner’s mindset?

It is a very important question and one I had some fun thinking about.

Some people would say that it cannot be taught. That people will either have it or they will not. And I have to agree that there is some truth to this. Some people just seem to have it while others don’t.

And it is hard to change people sometimes even if they want to change. It’s damn near impossible to change them if they have no interest in being changed.

But it is possible…

Can the Winner's Mindset be taught? I believe so...

Can the Winner’s Mindset be taught? I believe so…

When a person is born that are mostly a clean slate. There is certainly already individuality there but largely who they come to be as they grow will depend on how they are raised. Mostly its parents. But it is also any authority figure. Priests, teachers, older kids, and coaches as well.

By high school a lot has already been set in, but there is still much more. And just because something is set doesn’t mean it can’t be changed.

This is an area where understanding NLP can be very useful. It’s original bases was on the use of language in order to help people change. It was originally created by modeling three of the most successful therapists out there. Now coaching is not therapy but there are parallels.

Motivation Meta Programs

One of the useful things to understand when coaching people is meta programs. These are covered in a lot more depth in my course How to Use 20 Mental Frames. In that course I cover 20 of these programs but here are two that are critical to this conversation.

One of those is towards and away from motivation. What gets you motivated? To be a winner you must be at least to some degree towards motivated. But that’s not necessarily the strongest motivation.

Some people end up in a sport like wrestling because it is an escape away from something else. It is a place to channel the pain and suffering they’ve had. It can be an opportunity to “show those %^$*&^@”…

Understanding what motivates someone on a deep level will allow you to use that to motivate them more to achieve a goal like winning.

Another crucial part of motivation is whether a person is internal or external. An internal person is motivated from within. You can be a good model and coach but ultimately it is going to come down to what they believe and feel inside.

An external person needs that outside motivation as well as praise or criticism (depending on towards or away from again) to keep them going. Their view of life depends on other people.

Understanding these two areas of motivation are critical when trying to get people to move. If you’re working with a team speaking to them all, since there is likely a mix, you’ll need to speak to both at the same time. You can’t just rely on your own pattern because not everyone is wired the same way as you.

If you want someone to win you’ll also want to find out why it is important to them. This will show you their meta programs as well as tell you what they value. Most often people don’t even know what they want! By asking the right questions you can get them to understand it for the first time.

It’s ALL Up to You

Something that is lacking in too many people today is self-responsibility. If you can instill this into them you’ll have done them a service not just for wrestling but for all of life. Not many people realize that their success or failure is completely up to them. You can’t always control outside events but you can control how you react to them and most importantly what you DO about them.

Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team because he wasn’t good enough. Did that stop him? No, he practiced more than ever and now he’s one of the most famous athletes to ever live.

Abraham Lincoln is regarded as the greatest president of the United States. Was he always a success? Far from it. Here is a list of some of his failures and obstacles in life.

  • Failed in business.
  • Lost in running for state legislature.
  • Couldn’t get into law school.
  • Failed in business again after borrowing money which took him 17 years to repay.
  • Was engaged to be married when his fiancee died.
  • Had a complete nervous breakdown.
  • Defeated in becoming speaker of the state legislature.
  • Lost in running for Congress
  • Lost in running for Senate twice.

He had a few successes within this time but not nearly as many as failures. The important thing is he did not stop. He learned from his failures and that helped him to lead through one of this nation’s most difficult times.

I wasn’t born strong, but I became fascinated by the idea of it. Over the past number of years I have worked my butt off towards that aim and have achieved a great amount of success. And I feel like I’ve just started.

There are so many important lessons but this will give you an idea of several places to start on teaching the winner’s mindset.


  1. Very good article, I really like that connection between training and mindset

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