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Mastering Consistency: The Art Of Building Patience And Discipline In Sports

Picture of By Jesse Engelbrecht

By Jesse Engelbrecht

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A graphic with a blue neon frame with text in the middle discussing the key takeaway messages in the blog giving the high-level overview.

INTRODUCTION

Mastering consistency: the art of building patience and discipline in sports is the foundation of athletic success. It’s the difference between average performance and greatness, between fleeting moments of brilliance and sustained excellence. Knowing the art of building patience and discipline in sports at a foundational level will be the key to unlocking your consistency at the performance level.

But let’s be honest: consistency is hard. It requires patience, discipline, and a willingness to do the work day in and day out, even when the results aren’t immediate.

Yet, for those athletes who are willing to master the art of building patience and discipline, the rewards are immeasurable.

I investigate The Power Of Process deeper in another blog where I discuss the zen kõan philosophy of chop wood, carry water and how Olympic swimmer Lizzie Simmonds talks about “master the process and the results will follow.”

In this blog, I’ll explore the keys to consistency in sports, including practical tips for developing the habits and mindset necessary to achieve your goals. Join me as I dive into the world of training the mind and discover the secrets to mastering consistency.

“Everyone think greatness is sexy. It’s not. It’s dirty, hard work.”

Ben Hogan

THE ART OF BUILDING PATIENCE AND DISCIPLINE

“Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.”

Joyce Meyer

This quote by Joyce Meyer highlights that building patience and discipline is not just about waiting for something to happen, but rather, about how we act and behave while we are waiting.

It’s easy to become frustrated, irritated, or even angry while waiting for all our good habits and training to show up. But being patient means we remain calm, positive, and focused on our goals. It’s about staying committed and disciplined to the process and having faith that things will work out in the end, even if it takes longer than we expected.

Master the art of showing up and trust in the process. Focus on the outcome but through the process. Patience is a learnable skill! And when developed, leads to sustained consistency in your events.

In essence, the quote is suggesting that patience is a virtue that requires us to demonstrate grace, composure, and maturity while we wait for our desired outcome.

THE BUCKET ANALOGY

When it comes to you performing good habits for training the mind, I want you to think about each habit like adding a single drop of water into a large bucket.

What separates the great performers from the good is consistency and discipline executed over time.

The average do it some of the time, the good do it most of the time, but the great do it ALL the of the time.

“We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.”

John Dryden

An individual drop is barely noticed when added to an empty bucket.

But nonetheless it has been added.

Every time you perform a healthy habit for the mind such as reading a blog, meditating, visualising, journaling, avoiding distractions, sleeping well, talking to yourself positively, showing up with the right attitude, and so on, this is adding a single drop to your bucket.

Now, after some time of good habits, you notice the bottom of the bucket is covered with water. But it is still minimal. You cannot drink from this bucket yet.

But with time and adding drops daily (as the champions do), the water level begins to rise and one day you investigate your bucket and now notice it is half full.

But all you can do is add a single drop at a time. You cannot rush the process. No amount of force will add more water to your bucket. The champions know and are acutely aware of this. They ensure they stay the course by building patience and discipline. Because ultimately they know they are mastering consistency that will appear during their performances.

“Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in ten years.”

Bill Gates

MASTERING CONSISTENCY

When building patience and discipline, you create and therefore master consistency. Consistently adding drops to your bucket every day. When you need your training to show up in competition you have plenty of clean fresh water waiting there for you to drink from.

Your bucket is full, and you have this as your asset. You do not need to come up with some magical, out-of-this-word performance on a certain match day.

But rather, your performance will be the accumulation of all those drops added in overtime with the right amount of attitude and patience.

“We don’t rise to the level of our expectations; we fall to the level of our training.”

Archilochus
A comic strip style explainer of how consistently adding in a drop at a time to the bucket develops patience and discipline

CONCLUSION

In closing, mastering consistency: the art of building patience and discipline in sports is a skill that can be learnt with the right mindset and attitude. When you can remember and use The Bucket analogy this will help your mindset in times when you are feeling a lack of motivation.

This quote taken from a commencement speech given by Admiral William H. McRaven to the graduating class of the University of Texas at Austin on May 17, 2014 shows the power of building patience and discipline.

The speech was titled “Make Your Bed” and has since gone viral, inspiring millions of people around the world to adopt the simple but powerful message of taking small actions each day to achieve big goals.

“If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed. If you make your bed every morning, you will have accomplished the first task of the day. It will give you a small sense of pride, and it will encourage you to do another task, and another, and another. And by the end of the day, that one task completed will have turned into many tasks completed.”

Admiral William H. McRaven, US Navy SEAL.

PRACTICAL TIPS

  • Start small. Just like adding a drop to a bucket, start with small, achievable goals. This can help build momentum and increase confidence in your ability to stick with good habits.
  • Be consistent. Consistency is key when it comes to building patience and discipline. Commit to a regular routine and try to stick with it even when you don’t feel like it.
  • Practice patience. Remember that patience is not just about waiting, but also about how you behave while waiting. Cultivate a sense of calm and positivity, and trust in the process even when progress seems slow.
  • Focus on the process. Don’t get too caught up in the end goal. Instead, focus on the daily actions you can take to move you closer to that goal.
  • Celebrate small wins. Acknowledge and celebrate the progress you’ve made, even if it seems small. This can help keep you motivated and reinforce the importance of good habits.
  • Avoid distractions. Minimize distractions and prioritize your time and energy on the things that matter most to you and your goals.
  • Stay committed. Remember that building patience and discipline takes time and effort. Stay committed to the process, even when it gets challenging, and trust that your hard work will pay off in the end.

STAYING IN TOUCH

Whenever you’re ready, here are 4 more ways you can consume SportMind content to help you train your mind:

  1. Check out the SportMind podcast. And this is my FAVOURITE episode to date
  2. Get your coach in your pocket by downloading the SportMind App on Apple or Android
  3. Ever wanted the tools to Unlock Flow? I have a workshop just for this
  4. Become a SportMind member and gain full access to mental training. Learn more here

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Jesse Engelbrecht

SportMind Founder,
High Performance Coach,
& Squash Professional

A professional and dedicated coach full of enthusiasm and passion for helping and teaching.

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