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Sports Psychology: What Does It Really Take To Win At The Olympics?

Posted by: Dr. Granat on July 29, 2008

Who will win when the games begin?
The Olympics will begin shortly and there is a lot of hype, excitement and
media attention around the start of the games.


Some pundits, patriots and sports fans enjoy speculating about which individuals
and which teams will emerge as the victors at this huge event

Now, there are many factors which impact an athlete’s performance:
motivation, coaching, discipline, controlling emotions, being resilient,
training regime, physical conditioning, relationships with teammates, managing
frustration, controlling distractions and enjoying one’s sport when the pressure is on.

These are the kinds of issues that I work on when I counsel athletes.

I have written a number of books and developed a number of products
devoted to these issues. Here are a few relevant links:

However, there are two factors which have a dynamic role in sports which
are apparent all the time. These two powerful components are confidence and

They play a role in victories in losses in winning streaks and in losing streaks.
These dynamics affect teams, coaches and individual athletes.

Any one who has competed at sports or who watches sports knows about
the connection between confidence and momentum. Right now, The New York
Yankees and The New York Mets are demonstrating what happens when a team
gains momentum and confidence.

In tennis, Rafael Nadal is riding a wave of confidence and momentum.
I believe he will win the US Open in a few weeks. Conversely, Roger Federer appears to
be searching for some momentum and confidence.

It is hard to say what happens first. Does an athlete get confident or does he
or she become confident after a few victories or good performances? This is “a which
came first, the chicken or egg” kind of question?

So, if you like to handicap the Olympics, look for athletes, coaches and teams

that are coming off record times, big wins or a streak of great performances. These are
the people who are peaking now and who are reaping the benefits of being confident
and being on a roll. And these are the participants who are apt be up to the task and are
likely to perform well and bring home the medals when the games begin.

Jay P. Granat, Ph.D. is a Psychotherapist and the Founder of
He can be reached at 888 580-ZONE or at

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