Athletic Resiliency Exemplified at the Highest Level

A key attribute elite level performers cultivate is the ability to adapt to difficult situations, like the daily work required to recover from an injury and return to the starting 11 or the stress of a World Cup tournament. If you take a look at the world’s top performers like Lionel Messi, widely regarded as one of the greatest fútbol (soccer) players of all time, he has demonstrated remarkable mental resilience throughout his career. From when he was very young and having to overcome growth deficiencies in his youth and then throughout his career by rising up through FC Barcelona’s youth academy to its 1st team and his pursuit of a World Cup win in 2022, Leo Messi remained determined and resilient in his pursuit to be an elite performer at the world’s highest levels. These extremely high expectations from fans, media, and himself and the work required to achieve this occurs with deliberate effort both physically and mentally.

People will often look at a performer’s physical talent as the reason for their success but despite their physical ability, athletes like him will face numerous setbacks and disappointments during their careers that will require a strong mind to overcome these hardships. To participate in competitive sport, regardless of the level, all athletes will benefit greatly by cultivating within themselves greater mental resiliency. Adapting to change can involve many things like leaving a club you have played with for many years to seek new ways of developing yourself. Sometimes when we remain stagnant we can become too comfortable, which can limit our growth. It is important for each athlete to explore their goals and identify the targeted outcomes they are attempting to achieve and ask themselves if they are in an environment that will enable that. Will this environment increase the probability of moving me closer to my goals? After Messi left Barca for PSG, this change of environment may have helped him better prepare for the World Cup performance of a lifetime and the success many thought might not ever happen.

Despite the challenges he has faced during his career, Leo Messi has maintained his professionalism and continued to perform at exceptional levels. To have a long and successful career there are many elements to the “mental game” that performers need to access for continued improvement. Mental resilience is one of the key elements and it is quite evident Leo Messi cultivated an elite ability to overcome challenges, cope with pressure and adapt to changes while maintaining focus and motivation. His determination and unwavering spirit are something to be applauded and studied so others can learn how to access these same abilities for themselves.

In whatever sport you desire to excel in, Messi’s story of resiliency is an excellent example of how top performing athletes find ways to overcome the challenges we will all face in our lives.