Do you have a Competitive Edge?

Having a competitive edge is what every athlete or team is striving for.  As a specialist sports mind coach, I understand the importance of gaining an edge over your opponents and I believe it’s a key factor that separates the good from the excellent.

What exactly is a competitive edge? A competitive edge is something that gives an athlete or team an edge over their opponents. It is the ability to consistently perform at a high level and rise to the occasion when the pressure is on. At its core, it can be anything from the superior physical ability to a better strategy or a stronger mindset. Knowing and developing your competitive edge can help you to perform at your best and to achieve your goals.

Having a competitive edge is key to success and talent and physical ability are not the only aspects of having a competitive edge.

Many Coaches agree that having an edge is the difference between an outstanding and average performance. When you look at those athletes that are performing consistently at a high level you will find that they all have some kind of competitive edge over their rivals. You may wonder what it is and why some sportsmen and woman consistently outperform their competition.

What if I tell you that training your
mind is your competitive edge?

“One of the most profound things validated through study after study of many great athletes is that if you take a group of athletes with equal ability and some receive mental training while others do not, the ones who were given mental training will always outperform those without.
Why?  Simple: because those who use mental training skills develop a Mental Edge”

Even the most skilled athletes will underachieve when their thoughts are negative and this can lead to struggling to let go of mistakes or bad breaks, lack of self-confidence or motivation, or finding it difficult to handle the pressure of competition. Training your mind right alongside your body is key to improving focus, becoming more resilient to failure and setbacks, and knowing how to deal with your fears, tough opponents, nervousness, slumps, and any other obstacles that come your way.

Strategies for gaining a “Competitive Edge”

“Where your mind goes, your body follows”.

One of the most important factors in developing a competitive edge is having a calm, clear, and focused mind. This means being in the eye of the storm and still performing and focusing on the task at hand. This requires having the mental toughness to push through difficult moments and setbacks, pain and discomfort, and the ability to stay motivated and driven even when things are not going your way.

“Do you believe you can?”

Self-belief is not about believing you will win, but rather having the confidence and trust in your abilities and potential for success. Trust the process and allow your body to perform without the negative chatter of your mind. Back yourself and focus on what you can do. That’s what champions do.

“When you stay in it, your chances to win it increases substantially”.

How many times are matches lost or won in the final seconds of a game? The margin of success is sometimes milliseconds or millimeters. So many times, I have seen how that last push can be the difference between second and first. Javelin throwers know all too well how that last big throw, even though you are not amongst the medals yet, can change everything. That is why champions keep on fighting to the end.

“Rome was not built in one day – Show up and keep up.”

Athletes who consistently perform at a high level know that success doesn’t happen by accident. It’s the result of hours of practice, training, and preparation. Just as it is important to train your body every day, you need to train your mind just as much. it is important to know, when it comes to younger athletes that they develop differently over time and some athletes are late bloomers.

“When you fail to plan, you will plan to fail.”

Strategy or good habits is what will get you there. Remember the loser and the winner have the same goal, but the one with the better plan is the one that will mostly succeed. Be open to change when something is not working. Being adaptable is key and remember although you can change your strategy, you never change your goal.

“Even the darkest night will end … and the sun will rise again.”

Resilience is a key mental skill that can help you to bounce back from setbacks, overcome challenges, and look at failure differently. Being resilient means being able to adapt to changing circumstances and maintain a positive attitude, even in the face of adversity. How many sportsmen and women have suffered setbacks at the worst possible moments and made comebacks and achieve an even a higher level. The biggest comebacks are the result of setbacks. You can either have the experience break you or make you grow. That is what champions do!

“Know thyself”

Self-awareness is a critical component of mental skills training, and it involves having an understanding of one’s own thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, as well as the impact they have on performance. Self-awareness can help you to identify your strengths and weaknesses, set realistic goals, and develop effective strategies for improving your performance. Working with a Sports Mind Coach can be an effective way to develop self-awareness. A coach can provide guidance, support, and feedback, as well as help you identify your strengths and weaknesses and also help you develop strategies for improving your mental skills, such as visualization, goal-setting, and positive self-talk.

“If you can see it in your mind, you can hold it in your hand.”

Einstein is quoted to say that “Imagination is more powerful than knowledge” and with the use of imagery or mental rehearsal, you can start to build and strengthen the neuropathways in your brain. When you use imagery to create vivid, sensory-rich mental images of a desired outcome or performance in your mind, you can improve your performance on the day. Holding positive images in your mind will lift your mood and a better mood will enhance your skills.

Having a competitive edge is all about having the right combination of mental and physical skills, preparation, and adaptability. By focusing on developing these skills, you can gain a significant advantage over your competition and perform to your potential.


Article compiled by Bennie Louw
Life and Executive Coach, Speaker and Sport Mind Coach.

Training Your Mind for Sports Performance – Providing individual and group training for coaches, managers, parents, high level performers and keen amateurs who wish to learn the techniques to improve their mental approach to sport.

Click here to Contact Bennie