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A Monumental Shift of Approach: The Difference Attitude Makes

04/13/2015, 5:00am PDT
By Kelvin Cech

Before results, before process, there's approach.

In each of us there’s a preconceived method of approaching sports. 

Playing sports is dependant on attitude. An approach to the game. The progression of approach is the process, the way in which you play the game, the way in which you operate in between the whistles. Once the process is complete, the results are displayed. 

So, before you can achieve results and before you can engage in the process of playing a sport, you must dedicate yourself to a specific approach.

The Science of Approach

The sport doesn’t matter. Your approach encompasses the way in which you prepare for a practice or game, how you maintain your body throughout your career and the degree to which you dedicate your thoughts to your sport. 

Do you sleep properly? Eat properly? Train properly? To achieve the highest levels of your sport, to truly embrace what it means to be an athlete; are you approaching the game in a way that will allow you to reach your personal potential?

The approach starts long before an athlete steps onto the playing surface and involves a strong support group to maintain an even keel during the natural hills and valleys of a standard season. 

Every athlete’s approach, however, will ultimately hinge on one thing.


For an athlete, compete is a noun. It’s a thing. A quality to be attained, honed and mastered. An athlete’s approach grows stronger with each increasing level of compete.

And compete is absolutely a tool that can be acquired. 

Working hard is a skill. On the days when the sun is too hot or the rain is too depressing, looking past obstacles and working just as hard is mental, not physical. Teaching your mind to embrace the odds when they’re stacked against you is the essence of compete. Athletes with a growing stock of compete lean into adversity instead of shying away from it. 

It’s in these moments that athletes are training themselves for adversity on the field of play. When the moment calls for it, the athletes who have ingrained compete within themselves will turn and fight. They will be more, not less. Adrenaline will rush to their veins and make them stronger, rather than calcium seizing their muscles. 

Compete is learned. Compete is earned. 

Sven Butenshon

When Sven Butenshon was playing pro hockey, he learned very quickly that in order to survive, he needed to approach the game with as much compete as possible every day. 

“In pro hockey no one cares where you came from,” says Sven. “They care about results, so it was my job to find an effective way to achieve those results. The biggest thing I learned early in my career which allowed me to play was to compete in everything. In practice, in games, in the summer. Compete was what I thrived on and I earned respect that way.”

Compete in everything you do. Don’t wait. Don’t rest. Get up and compete for your spot now.

A shift in attitude will paint your sport with a completely new light. Don’t react to your game, dictate what your game will offer. 

Carve your own path. Find your compete and use it. 

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