WINTALITY 101: The Mental Act of Winning

I first read the word “WINTALITY” in January 2011 on the Auburn Lady Tigers Facebook page, and I’ve got to say I immediately fell in love with it. There are a million catch phrases out there, many cliché’s but seldom does one get to experience the sheer pleasure that comes from hearing a brand new word. A word that has meaning only to the reader or listener. A meaning that can be neither right nor wrong. For the next several weeks I’m going to have a blast making up an entirely new definition of the word so that it fits what I want it to, hey I’m the one typing so I’m allowed, and sharing it with you. I look forward to reading your comments to see what the word may have meant to you as you first read it.

[Wintality] – win-tal-i-ty – noun; The act of mentally believing you have already won even before the game begins or has concluded. “I’ve never seen anything quite like that girl’s wintality.”

Making up a definition for a new word is the easy part. Conveying it to others in a way that will help motivate and inspire them is something else entirely. Because nearly any kind of learning is best accomplished when relating it to something you already know. With this word that is rather hard to do, because unfortunately most players, coaches and parents are familiar only with its 3 polar opposites – negativity, pessimism and selfishness. You know what I mean a hard fought game that is tied in the bottom of the 5’th inning and a physical error is made somewhere on the field and the player slaps herself on the leg, her head hangs low and you instantly see that she believes she’s already lost the game. On bad teams that one look generally translates into 10 other errors in the same inning. On the best of teams her teammates try to pick her up, but the very fact that they have to try and pick her up, distracts them from what they should be thinking about.

Fortunately for me I got to witness “wintality” long before I ever had the pleasure of hearing the word. At the time I just watched a player demonstrate it and thought “there is something different about this girl.” This girl, being Taryne Mowatt of the University of Arizona. In June 2007 I watched as she battled the University of Tennessee for the Women’s College World Series Championship. Repeatedly the Lady Volunteers managed to load the bases and what I expected to see was “the look” described above. But no, that’s not what I saw. That’s not what America saw. That’s not what the world saw. What we all saw instead was a smile. Wait, or was that a grin. A giggle perhaps? The look that constantly came across her face in those situations implied “I let you do that on purpose because you can’t possibly beat me. I’ve already seen the score at the end of the game. The score’s at the end of the series. And I’ve already won.”

Taryne Mowatt doesn’t have ESP. She couldn’t really see the score at the end of the game. She couldn’t really know the series was going to go to Arizona. What she had, and still has is wintality. The ability to believe in her mind that she is going to win, and has already won before she takes the field and regardless of the situation on the field. The important question isn’t whether you’ve seen Taryne’s wintality or witnessed it in others. The important question is “Do you have WINTALITY?”

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