How To Think Like A Champion

I can recall a television commercial featuring Brett Hull – NHL player for (at that point) the St-Louis Blues. He said something that stuck with me all these years “If you want to be a winner, you got to think like a winner.” Athletes and non-athletes can benefit greatly from this concept.

The mind is powerful (but sometimes it’s our biggest obstacle). Having the right mental attitude can be the difference between failure and success. Vision, Will and Confidence are the 3 key elements needed to achieve greatness.


I’m not talking about your eye sight, rather the exercise of visualization. This can also be described as specific goals or your ultimate objective. Whether it’s sport performance or the ideal physique, positive mental imaging can help fuel, inspire and achieve the desired result. Strategies like posting magazine clippings in common areas (inspiring words and photos), or watching video footage of professional athletes can assist with the visualization process. It’s most effective to begin with small goals (baby steps). Eventually all the smaller goals will develop into the bigger picture. It’s ok to dream big, but be realistic with your goals and the mental imaging process. Bottom line, if you visualize yourself performing a certain way (and work hard at achieving that) your body/muscles will eventually follow. The mind controls the body. Practice visualization techniques several times a day and during training.


We’ve all heard it before – mental toughness, determination and absolute focus. These are some words that could describe our will. The most important aspect of will is the action plan or training program. Before starting a training program, it’s best to gather as much information possible (speaking with coaches and other experienced athletes, reading books, articles and essays). This is crucial for developing an efficient training program. Once the program is outlined, one must commit with 100% effort – that is my definition of will! During training, it’s good to have tunnel vision. Let nothing get in the way of achieving your goals. Have faith and believe what you’re working towards – there’s almost a spiritual element present. Without a strong will, all the mental imaging and confidence in the world won’t do you any good. True strength comes from will.


Is knowing what you are worth as an individual, athlete or competitor. All great champions have tremendous confidence in their skills and abilities. The thought of failure never enters their minds. They don’t allow it! They are individuals, leaders – people who separate themselves from the pack. This is important. True confidence is not being afraid to step outside the box and stand alone. With confidence, one can overcome obstacles (in sport and life in general) and attain that winning edge so necessary for success. Positive self talk, a good training partner/coach and self education can go a long way, however one usually gains confidence through experience. Whether it means learning from mistakes, or reflecting on what was done well, experience is the most essential part of gaining confidence.

“If you want to be a winner, you got to think like a winner.” Brett Hull said it best back in the day. Establish the goals and create a vision in your mind. Develop an action plan and have the will to get the job done. With experience comes confidence. Always re-assess what worked well, and what could be improved. The mind is powerful and can very well be the biggest contributing factor in your success. Think like a champion!

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Shawn Charlebois

Shawn Charlebois is a Certified Specialist in Strength & Conditioning. He has trained professional and college level athletes, middle aged house wives and everybody in between. Shawn runs the Integrity Strength & Conditioning program. He also offers one on one, individual programs and Nutrition Advice.