The concept of a ‘medal mindset’ is brought up a lot by selectors. They believe athletes either have or ‘lack’ the ‘medal mindset’ and this can significantly hinder their chances of being chosen for teams or competitions. The belief behind this mindset, is that only those with it are driven to achieve medals, and therefore only those seen to possess this mindset are selected. But why does this one label denote whether someone does or doesn’t possess the mindset to strive for medals? And why is it believed there is only one mindset that is capable of winning medals? I personally, want to test this idea of the ‘medal mindset’.
Firstly, if you ask any competitive athlete if they want to win races and become better and faster athletes, they will say yes. Anybody who pushes themselves daily in order to become faster, strives to better themselves and succeed. I work hard in training and prioritise recovery because I want to become a better athlete, which is undoubtedly a faster, more maturely minded one. Surely, wanting to succeed and become a better version of yourself, coincides with the drive to achieve medals? Just because it hasn’t been point blankly stated that an individual is striving to achieve a medal, why does that suggest they don’t have a medal mindset?
Secondly, I personally race my best when passion and enjoyment are my main goals. Yes I want to be the best athlete I can be, but in order to do this I need to be passionate about running and more importantly I need to enjoy it. When I love the sport and my passion for it is present, becoming a better athlete follows. The best races I have run have not been when I have been focusing on a position or a time, but when I have been enjoying the journey and the race I am in. When I am happiest, which is coincidently when I am enjoying running the most, it is much easier to push myself harder and go after my goals with confidence. These goals for many may include winning medals.
This brings me on to the question, is it healthy to purely focus on medals? And is this actually realistic? Yes of course athletes strive to achieve medals, but purely chasing a medal isn’t always going to bring enjoyment or encourage a healthy relationship with running. In order to be a stable athlete, it is important to have more personal goals and not those purely based around medals. Well, this is what I think anyway.
Is a medal mindset really a realistic term? Whilst people may strive for medals, are medals really running through their mind on a daily basis? Surely it is the goal to succeed that drives athletes, not medals alone, and this drive for success then leads to medals? And surely this mindset is present in all athletes, as all athletes strive to be the best versions of themselves? Not just those labelled with the ‘medal mindset’.
So, what is it that drives you to be the best athlete you can be? And whilst medals may be the ultimate goal, what is it that they represent and what truly makes you race the best you can?
I love to run and I love to write, so I write about running!