"You must love what you do. Your heart must be in it. Without enthusiasm, you cannot work up to your fullest ability and potential; you're just going through the motions. And just going through the motions won't bring you to the level of competitive greatness we seek whether in basketball, business, or life." -John Wooden

Michael Phelps’ comeback is going at a slower pace than anticipated. The former 14-time Olympic gold medal winner is not used to competing at swimming meets and then not standing on the top of the winner’s podium. Last Friday he competed in his top event, the 200m butterfly, at the Charlotte UltraSwim at Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center placing 6th.

Phelps’ goal is to reclaim the world champion title in Shanghai, China this July. Right now Phelps admits "I feel like an old man coming out of the pool sometimes. My body doesn't recover like it used to."
He already has five losses for 2011 under his belt. Can he pull it off? He needs three medals at the 2012 Olympics in London to become the most decorated Olympian in history.
The stakes are high. Several factors must align for Phelps to reclaim his championship title and set new world records.

Will Phelps get his groove back? Following John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success, Phelps has his work cut out for him. Not only must he physically get back into top shape, he also needs to regain his winning mindset. Training physically without an inner focus is useless when so much is at stake.

The two cornerstones for the Pyramid of Success lay the foundation for Phelps’ journey back to greatness.

• Industriousness – refers to hard work. To get back in the game, reclaiming world champion status, requires a higher level of effort. First place athletes train at a different pace than 6th place competitors. Experience and technique give him an edge over the competition. Getting serious, training as a gold medal Olympic swimmer, is necessary to win competitions. There are no shortcuts.

• Enthusiasm – puts his heart back into his swimming. Understanding his driving force provides the impetus to push further, giving everything he has during practices. Phelps reconnecting to his big “why” for competing will drive him to do whatever is necessary. He will once again become committed to being the best.

At the 5th and top tier of the Pyramid is Competitive Greatness. “A real love for the hard battle, knowing it offers the opportunity to be at your best when your best is required.” John Wooden
To sum it up, competitive greatness is not about how many medals and trophies stand in the display case at the end of the day. The journey, the person you become along the way, defines you. Standing up to adversity is the trophy. Knowing you did your best, overcoming challenges, continuing to take the necessary steps toward your vision along the way even when others doubted you possessed the qualities of a great athlete. Michael Phelps has everything he needs to return to greatness.

For Michael Phelps to take his place as a champion he must fully commit to training and swimming. John Wooden’s Pyramid of Success chart shows the steps to greatness. Training for the world championship title requires diligence. Putting in the hours to regain his strength, endurance and mindset are necessary. Phelps must be more passionate and enthusiastic about reclaiming his title than his competitors. Enthusiasm and drive are motivating forces shared by winners. He’s done it once and he is able to do it again; the choice is his.

Are you in training? List activities first place winners for your sport include in their training which is different from your training program. List two of those activities which you are ready, and willing, to add into your training program to improve your performance. Then think about your enthusiasm. Do you know what drives you to compete in your sport? There is a difference between competing to please someone else and doing it for your own personal reasons. Find your reasons. This increases your winner’s edge.

Author's Bio: 

Follow Loren Fogelman during the sports mindset moment giving you tips for winning results through improved focus and confidence. Learn the strategies Michael Phelps needs to apply to regain his world championship swimming title. Receive your FREE Starter Kit “How to Avoid the 7 Mistakes Most Athletes Unknowingly Make.” by going now to http://innergameforwinningathletes.com/