It takes mental strength and a winner's mindset to be the best in the world. If we want to be the best, we have to be willing to do whatever it takes effectively and ethically. Stuart Lancaster, national rugby head coach, has vowed that his squad will be fitter and leaner than ever for the Rugby World Cup in September, warning his players that they face a “grim” time during their training camp at altitude in Denver, Colorado, in July.

“In order to win the World Cup, you have to be the fittest team,” said Lancaster. “And the type of game we want to play, it is probably the most important thing that we need to get right. It is going to be pretty grim for the players in Denver. It is tough there. We are then going to Vail, which is even higher.”

Shad Forsythe, a new fitness coach at Arsenal—headhunted to invigorate their training regime—was one of four specialists who worked with Germany’s FIFA World Cup winning coach Joachim Low’s every session of the way at the World Cup. Arsène Wenger identified the need for improvement in the club’s training regimes and went about solving the problem by recruiting a man who has been working at the vanguard of elite performance.

The two cases above are highlighted in an effort to emphasise how important a proper fitness regime is to the creation of a high performance culture. The mantra is a simple one: if you want to be at your absolute best you have to prepare to be the best. In the absence of specific and detailed proper preparation, all else is wishful thinking.

Creating a high performance culture begins with having the mind-set and mental strength. Without the mind-set and mental strength one would hardly be able to attain the best performance that is required to achieve success at the highest level of world sport. Some have asked why is it so difficult to move the T&T sport environment and system to a high performance one.

That there are a cadre of individuals who understand and have the training needed to help build the high performance culture there can be no doubt. But the question is why is it –at least in the minds of the athletes- so hard to get the environment right? We can set all the loft goals and objectives we want. Unless we adopt a high performance mind-set and develop the requisite mental strength to insist that it is in place- the chances of reaching set goals will be difficult.

It makes little sense being defensive or living in denial.   It is important that all who have an interest in seeing T&T adopt a high performance culture make the conscious decision to put aside perceived differences and integrate the available resources. It can be frustrating and at times easy to simply stay in our individual silos.

But we are too small a nation to be so inclined.  Working together for the common good is a necessary priority. There is too much potential and talent residing in T&T to allow differences to divide and disperse the development of a high performance culture. I saw this list on the website. It makes for interesting reading and is worthy of consideration.

The 18 things mentally tough people do:
1. They move on
2. They keep control
3. They embrace change
4. They stay happy
5. They are kind
6. They are willing to take calculated risks
7. They invest their energy in the present
8. They accept full responsibility for their past behaviour
9. They celebrate other people’s success
10. They are willing to fail
11. They enjoy their time alone
12. They are prepared to work and succeed on their own merits
13. They have staying power
14. They evaluate their core beliefs
15. They expend their energy wisely
16. They think productively
17. They tolerate discomfort
18. They reflect on their progress