4 Ways to Turn a Weakness Into a Strength

December 20, 2012 | Lee Ness

Missed Tackle

Everyone has weaknesses. No matter how good an athlete may be, he or she probably has an Achilles heel. You can usually tell a player's worst weakness, because it's the area they least like to train. ( See How Katherine Reutter Turns Her Weakness into a Strength)

The good news is that eliminating limitations tends to lead athletes to the biggest gains in their training. Overcoming weaknesses is almost entirely an individual, mental toughness issue. It is based on the law of diminishing returns, one of the simplest sports psychology topics to understand, which states: the better you get, the harder it is to get even better, so more effort is needed to achieve small improvements. Conversely, you have the most to gain by curing your weaknesses, so that's where you should focus your training.

Bottom line: eliminating weaknesses needs to be a big focus of your training. Here are some steps to help.

Identify Your Biggest Weakness

If you're honest with yourself, you already know what it is. If you're still genuinely unsure, then pick the area of training you dislike the most. Even if it isn't your biggest weakness, you'll still benefit from overcoming this obstacle.

Change Your Perspective 

Before you can really attack your weakness, you need to look at it through different eyes. When I was a cyclist, I hated hills but loved time trials. I wasn't built for hills (I was too big and heavy). Then I heard Bradley Wiggins say that he just treats hills like time trials. This completely changed how I viewed them. A different mental approach helped me see how hills were less difficult than time trials. I just enjoyed them less. (See Failure is the Fuel of Judo Champion Kayla Harrison.)

View Curing a Weakness As Just Another Challenge

Athletes love challenges, so make overcoming a weakness the same as taking on a big competitor. Attack it with gusto. Love the challenge, because, again, this is where you will get the most benefit. Move on from "Oh no, not hills today" to "Great! Hills today. This is where I will really make gains." Tell yourself this enough and you will start to believe it. Don't expect to learn to love it, just love the benefit you get from it.

Hit It Hard

You need to put more commitment behind training to fix your weaknesses. Hold nothing back and push yourself hard. You need total to be totally committed during every second of your training. You will make big gains, and you'll soon discover that your biggest weakness has become a strength. (See also Master The Five Pillars of Athletic Mental Toughness, Part 5: Resiliency.)

Featured Videos

Blake Griffin Interview and Cover Shoot Blake Griffin Interview and Cover Shoot Views: 588,664
Learn to Hit Open Three-Pointers With Damian Lillard's Baseline Drift Drill Learn to Hit Open Three-Pointers With Damian Lillard's Baseline Drift Drill Views: 241,761
Elite Performance With Mike Boyle: Teach Any Athlete How To Squat Properly Elite Performance With Mike Boyle: Teach Any Athlete How To Squat Properly Views: 284,490
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Dustin Pedroia on Training Dustin Pedroia on Training
Views: 10,920,844
Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 43,151,981
Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,866,164
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 6,099,366
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 12,009,040

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
Can a Faster Brain Increase Sports Performance?

Can a Faster Brain Increase Sports Performance?

What is there were ways to increase athletic performance by changing signals that increase brain speed? What if you nearly see things happen before they...

5 Tips for Playing Mentally Tough Tennis

5 Tips for Playing Mentally Tough Tennis

The Holistic Approach to Impactful Sports Coaching

The Holistic Approach to Impactful Sports Coaching

The Athletic Brain: How to Learn to Anticipate

The Athletic Brain: How to Learn to Anticipate

Growth Mindset: How to Think Like a Champion

Growth Mindset: How to Think Like a Champion

Get Tough on Your Goals to Get Fit

Get Tough on Your Goals to Get Fit

5 Steps to Changing a Bad Habit

5 Steps to Changing a Bad Habit

The Art of Strength and Conditioning Coaching

The Art of Strength and Conditioning Coaching

6 Ways Sport Parents Are Doing It Wrong

6 Ways Sport Parents Are Doing It Wrong

4 Tips for Building Confidence

4 Tips for Building Confidence

Positive Affirmations for Athletes

Positive Affirmations for Athletes

How to 'Keep Your Cool' on the Football Field

How to 'Keep Your Cool' on the Football Field

A Coach Describes What It’s Like to Cut Players

A Coach Describes What It's Like to Cut Players

Using Sports Imagery as Pre-Performance Routine

Using Sports Imagery as Pre-Performance Routine

Build Mental Toughness in the Weight Room

Build Mental Toughness in the Weight Room

Why Athletes Must Focus on Developing Their Own Identity

Why Athletes Must Focus on Developing Their Own Identity

Why You Should Be Training Instead of Exercising

Why You Should Be Training Instead of Exercising

Overcome the 5 Most Common Mental Mistakes in Sports

Overcome the 5 Most Common Mental Mistakes in Sports

Does Home Field Actually Confer an Advantage?

Does Home Field Actually Confer an Advantage?

How Mentally Tough Are You?

How Mentally Tough Are You?

Home Field Advantage Is Real, Says Science

Home Field Advantage Is Real, Says Science

The One Word You Should Never Say to Yourself

The One Word You Should Never Say to Yourself

How Mental Performance Affects Your Workouts

How Mental Performance Affects Your Workouts

4 Reasons Your Team Is Losing

4 Reasons Your Team Is Losing

How to Improve Mental Focus on the Baseball Diamond

How to Improve Mental Focus on the Baseball Diamond

How Clayton Kershaw Gets in the Zone

How Clayton Kershaw Gets in the Zone

4 Obstacles to Better Goal Setting

4 Obstacles to Better Goal Setting

Study: Athletes Think Faster, More Accurately Than Non-Athletes

Study: Athletes Think Faster, More Accurately Than Non-Athletes

Regain Your Confidence by Getting BIG

Regain Your Confidence by Getting BIG

5 Tips to Becoming a Successful Athlete

5 Tips to Becoming a Successful Athlete

Mental Warm-Up: How to Build Confidence Before a Game

Mental Warm-Up: How to Build Confidence Before a Game

5 Steps to Becoming a Better Coach

5 Steps to Becoming a Better Coach

Q&A: How to Deal With a Tough Coach

Q&A: How to Deal With a Tough Coach

Overcome Your Fear of Failure

Overcome Your Fear of Failure

Stress Exposure Training for Basketball

Stress Exposure Training for Basketball

3 Strategies to Reduce Stress and Increase Athletic Performance

3 Strategies to Reduce Stress and Increase Athletic Performance

How Mental Flexibility Boosts Your Game

How Mental Flexibility Boosts Your Game

Use Sports Psychology Against Your Opponents

Use Sports Psychology Against Your Opponents

Tips to Be a Better Leader

Tips to Be a Better Leader

What's Your Backup Plan When 'Plan A' Fails?

What's Your Backup Plan When 'Plan A' Fails?

YardBarker