One track mind: Bruins reveal the power of a winning mindset

One track mind: Bruins reveal the power of a winning mindset

This year, Bethel indoor track and field athletes prepared by setting goals and sticking to them. As a group and as individuals, they refused to allow themselves to get too into their own heads, which helped them maintain a positive mindset and belief in victory.  It is safe to say their end results speak for themselves.

Xavier Tisdale

During regionals, several Bruin athletes grabbed the spotlight. Amaya Cooper earned a title in the 1000, and the ladies 4×4 and 4×8 team (Aleah Harris, Alanah Harris, Jade Gaines, and Jasmine Gaines) shone in both relays. The boys teams performed well too: the 4×2 team (Jayden Coston, Khalil Jackson, Kwan Jackson, and James Osby) earned a silver medal, and the boys 4×4 team (Khalil Harper, Khalil Jackson, Kwan Jackson, and Kristopher Stephens) ran away with the bronze. Doubling up, Khalil Jackson also won bronze in the 55m hurdles.

Additionally, field athletes Xavier Tisdale and Kristopher Stephens placed silver in their respective events, Shot Put and Long Jump.  In fact, Kristopher Stephens broke a 21 year old school record and is now Bethel’s indoor Triple Jump record holder with a jump of 46 feet 11 ¾ inches. 

Xavier Tisdale

How did the Bruin track and field athletes reach such heights? The goal of an athlete is simple: win. For some, this might mean a personal best, and for others, it might mean making it to regionals or states. It all boils down to an athlete’s drive, goals, and training, and the Bruins had it in spades this season.

On the most basic level, success requires physical training. Kristopher Stephens, a 3 year track veteran and 2x State Champion, prepared for both regionals and states by “stretching properly and staying hydrated.” However, physical preparation is just the tip of the iceberg.

To not overthink anything, to just let stuff workout the way it’s supposed to, [is key],” Senior Amaya Cooper, who has been running for 5 years, said. “I am a very analytical person, and so I’m like constantly thinking, ‘Okay, what am I going to do here and here and here?,’ and I realized that was what was holding me back from… actually competing. [Instead], I now tell myself to just go run, have fun.”

Xavier Tisdale

Not getting in your head is very important, and sometimes it is easier to do that when you always do it. When you allow yourself to let go of overthinking and worrying, you will have more fun and may even shock yourself with greatness

I was injured all my junior year,” Cooper shared. “I couldn’t compete and that really messed with my mentally…, so to come back and be regional champ…that meant the world to me.”

It’s also important to try not to let the pressure of past results get to you. Focusing too much on what happened before can become a stumbling block.

“I was under a lot of pressure,” Emmanuel Parker stated. “In the past meets, I have gotten close [to making it to State] but have not qualified. Heading into the regional meet, I was really hoping to qualify… and I got the job done.”

When asked what made the difference this year, Parker highlighted the advice he received from peers and coaches. He shared that Coach Liddell really helped him “lock in and stay in the zone,” and he practiced trying to “visualize myself getting the job done.”

Xavier Tisdale

Similarly, 9 and 8 year veterans, Sophomore Jade and Senior Jasmine Gaines know to keep a disciplined mindset heading into the meet. No matter what leg of a relay they are in, their goal remains the same each race: victory.

If this season reveals anything, it is that the difference between “good” and “great” sometimes is just the mindset and mentality of an athlete. To win a state title requires mental as well as physical preparation. As the outdoor season gets underway, never count the Bruin track and field athletes out. Their goal for the spring is to put Bethel’s name back on the map and win more and more State titles.

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