The Table-Tennis World Champion Werner Schlager (2003), the well-known tennis journalist, mental expert/performance coach Andreas Du-Rieux and the special guest the world-class skier Johan Brolenius were presenting and discussing their thoughts on performance on the highest level, namely the „Champions-Principle“.
The seminar was moderated by Hakan Dahlbo in front of about 40 highly qualified and motivated players and coaches. Andreas Du-Rieux was first out and described his idea around the „Champions-Principle“. What is the mindset of a champion and how important is it to learn from the best? These are the million-dollar questions.
After an honest and exciting start about his background as a TV reporter and his childhood, Du-Rieux described why the desire to discover some similarities in the mindset of great champions overwhelmed him. His many travels around the world, commentating on thousands of matches always left him with the same question: „ why are some players consistently winning while some always fail when things get rough?“ Furthermore, Du-Rieux explained his work with many great champions such as Niki Lauda, Lindsey Vonn, Hana Krankl, Thomas Muster, Anna Gasser, and Markus Rogan as well as various other Olympic and world champions.
In a seamless transition, Werner Schlager told his story of how he became a world champion and how he learned to stay focused and raise his level when he needed it most. Schlager's presentation was filled with many interesting and emotional situations of how he separated from his father as a coach and the big impact of his big love in life – his wife.
Schlager and Du-Rieux were discussing do´s and don'ts and after great processing of the topic the former Swedish world-class skier and Swedish national team coach Johan Brolenius joined the discussion on stage.Johan described his perspective of what he missed out on in his career.
For example, he described how he felt when he was leading in the first run in the world championship and how he processed that mentally. Some minor doubtful thoughts - he failed and missed the chance to become a world champion.
Du-Rieux pointed out that many Champions already as a child „dreamed“ about what to achieve as an adult. Moreover, they chose their straightforward way, took responsibility, built a team they trust, and were very interested in improving things in their specific sport.
They were trying to be ahead of their opponents. The similarity in a Champion's mindset may be that they are so well prepared; physically, technically, mentally, tactically, and strategically and they use fine-tuned for them developed material.
That enables them to perform 95% to win. This fact may be the explanation for why players like Nadal, Federer, and Djokovic seem to be unbeatable. Specifically, Johan Brolenius described his way of skiing as 110%. He constantly was triggered by his Swedish national coaches to go 100%.
Unfortunately, that broke his neck many times. Johan was stressing the necessity of having a broad general skill base as an athlete. It is important to know many things to be able to adapt and adjust the body balance in challenging moments.
The Champions seem very skilled in this matter. Du-Rieux and Schlager pointed out that it is important to remember that the key to top performances can be found in honest self-reflection and harmonious emotion management.
- The take-home message that Du-Rieux, Schlager and Brolenius agreed on were that Champions have an analytical mindset and are, one way or another documenting/remembering things that they are doing well.
Also if they don´t always write it down – they have their way of saving successful happenings in their mind – and then they 100% stick to it.
The difference between success and failure is very small. Thanks to Andreas Du-Rieux, Werner Schlager, and Johan Brolenius for sharing all your knowledge and experiences. Thank you Andi for your interest in the „Champions-Principle“ and good luck with your book!