This week’s tip comes from long time Wofford head football coach, Mike Ayers. Coach Ayers is currently in his 28th season at Wofford with 196 total wins.

Mike ayers

“Players must win the battle within the battle.”

Coach Ayers believes the mental aspect of sports is the key to victory. The larger “battle” he is referring to is the game played on the field. The “battle” within takes place in the mind of the athlete. If a player does not win the battle within his mind, he is lost and has no chance of defeating the opponent wearing a different colored jersey.

To illustrate, Coach Ayers brought up the disciple Peter. When Peter kept his focus on Christ, he walked on water. Pretty amazing stuff! When Peter succumbed to his doubts he started to sink. Coach Ayers calls it the “Darkness of Doubt” and if players succumb to it they too will sink.

Many players will find it easy to stay positive and focused when things are going well. But when the fumbles and other mistakes come, how do they handle the adversity? It is then when the athlete needs to have a purpose, something to focus on.

When Peter kept his focus on Christ, things went well. When he lost that focus and relied on his own mind, things went sour. In Matthew chapter 19, Peter said to Christ “we’ve left everything for you,” only to deny Christ three times a few chapters later. Some players are like that when they say “we’re all in, coach,” then show they’re anything but once adversity hits.

If your purpose, your focus is to glorify Christ and allow Him to renew your mind, you’ll win the battle within your mind. Then when the fumbles and dropped passes come, you won’t sink, you’ll simply move onto the next play. Because the next play is all you have.

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