What is the Identity of the Athlete Made of?


When we play a sport we choose to express ourselves and make contact with reality. In that sense, having a strong identity contributes enormously in the personal development of the player, and that identity is not made only of victories.

If the athlete has the need to meet external expectations (of the coach, the public, parents, etc.), cracks begin to appear in their mental consistency, then the key to success has nothing to do with proving anything to anyone, because It is impossible to meet everyone’s expectations.

Interior and exterior world

In sport, the player’s self-knowledge is what is going to lead him to make a difference. This means understanding the inner world, what we are and what we can achieve, and the outside world, what we want to show others or what we believe we show others. When someone can not resolve the internal / external dichotomy and gets stuck in the results, they get stuck and their evolution stops. This generates paralysis and makes desire disappear.

The results

There is a complicated relationship between what you are and what you do. The results speak for you, but they do not define you. It is advisable that players, to define themselves, take distance from their product, game, objectives, hits and results, because when they identify with them, they become vulnerable, fragile and dependent.

When players believe they are what they do, they do not separate from their work and feel geniuses if everything goes well and a disaster if everything goes wrong. It is good that we understand the difference: one thing is the player, and another is the play.

The comparison

The result compares you with the others, while during the attempt you are unique. The true identity of the golfer or the team does not arise from the results but from the attempts. If we do not think so, we will be confused. In other words, to think that we are made of our achievements is a mistake, because in reality we are made of the perseverance of our attempts. Thinking only about winning is a coward and takes you to a competition that is not healthy and that distracts you from the game.

The athlete feels every aspect of the sport personally, in a unique way; So the challenge is to learn to validate one’s own value compared to oneself and not with another player. There are athletes who want to stand out compared to others and focus on the judgment of the other and this does not let them connect with their impulse and enjoyment.

When we differentiate what we are from our profession or hobby, we can distance ourselves from the results and say: “I am such a thing, and I am an athlete”. This means that the recognition will go beyond performance and, at the same time, means that we assume part of our identity as established athletes and not only as “aspirants”. Saying “I am a golfer,” for example, means that the player believes that he has reached his maximum performance level.

The professional comes to a balance when he does the exercise of recognizing himself as a person and is aware of his strengths and weaknesses as a human being, beyond sports, and he comes to see himself as a human being who plays.


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