The Connection Between Mindset & Max Effort

Mindset Mike


     Successful athletes don’t just work hard when they want to, when they’re not tired, or when they’re at 100 percent; they give everything they’ve got, every single rep, of every single day. Their mindset remains strong in part because of their willingness to give a full effort; their effort remains strong in part because of their mindset.

     As a mindset coach, one of the core principles I teach my athletes from youth through the Olympic/Pro level is how to systematically to focus on what they can control (effort, attitude, and aggressiveness) to maximize their performance in sport and life. The foundation to this concept and the key to reaching your potential begins with your effort. Giving a maximum effort paired with the right attitude allows an athlete their best chance to reach their potential. Too often, we get so caught up in the outcome (wins, losses, PRs, etc) that we lose sight of the process that gets us there. Whether it’s in the gym trying to hit a new PR, on the track trying to beat your 400m time, in the cage trying to win a fight, or even everyday life; giving a max effort is the single most important factor in whether or not you achieve your goals and is 100% within your control with the right mindset.

     Now, there is no guarantee that you’ll achieve your goals because you give it your all, but it definitely puts your best foot forward in making it happen. No one, including yourself, can be disappointed if you gave it your all and still didn’t achieve your goal. However, not giving a full effort – giving up, being lazy, start/finishing slow - will pretty much guarantee that you will fall short and lead to both regret and disappointment

     So what do you need to give a Max Effort in everything you do? A little mindset training can go a long way! Here is some actionable advice within3 of our 9 core Winning Mindset topics that will help you give a max effort in everything you do:


1. Self Knowledge – if we want to give everything we have, we must know how to control the way we think, which will control the way we feel, and thus control the way we act. Being able to deal with adversity is one of the most important aspects of self-knowledge

Actionable Advice:  assign a physical gesture to be your “reset button”.  Good examples are a head shake, deep breath, or hand clap. When you start to get nervous or tired and start to slack on your effort, hit that reset button like a video game and mentally start fresh. This reset will allow you to dig deep when you need to and bounce back from adversity


2. Toughness - You must have the motivation and drive to make yourself uncomfortable and push beyond your limits. Giving a max effort often means going outside of your comfort zones, which is something we can train outside of just doing hard workouts.

Actionable Advice: For one month, choose a “Courage of the Day” - do something that takes you outside of your comfort zones, whether it be physically, socially, or even food. Write it down and realize how often you were able to push past your comfort zones to empty your tank


3. Confidence – confident athletes know that if they give a max effort, they will be very difficult to beat. Athletes who lack confidence cannot trust our effort and are usually afraid of getting tired. You’ll never be able to give it your all or achieve your potential with a lack of confidence. No matter how tired or what the circumstances may be, you have the ability to push through any obstacle as long as you give everything you’ve got, especially using your reset button.

Actionable Advice: Write a list out of your previous accomplishments in your sport, physically, and life/career and make it a long one!! Then, write a list of your personal strengths in each of those categories. Seeing a long list of accomplishments and the strengths that got you there is not only empowering, but helps motivate you


Make sure to follow our Mindset articles throughout the month to help you get the most out of yourself, push through your limits, and give a MAX EFFORT


Mindset Mike is one of the directors at Winning Mindset – a systematic and sport-specific mindset training company used by high level athletes across the world. Mike specifically oversees both the Wrestling and Martial Arts specific programs that service youth through NCAA Champions, Olympians, and UFC/Bellator fighters.


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