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Which are you? The Bison or the Cow?


In the world of sports, athletes often find themselves facing storms of challenges, both on and off the field. As a sport psychologist, I often try to find examples of mental toughness and resilience to inspire athletes. Today, let's explore the powerful analogy of the cow and the bison to understand how athletes can weather the storms of competition and life.


Imagine a storm approaching—a metaphor for the adversities and pressures athletes encounter. The cow and the bison both represent two distinct ways athletes can respond to these challenges.



The Cow

The cow, known for its instinct to run away from storms, reflects an avoidance mindset. Some athletes may instinctively seek to avoid difficulties, whether it's a tough opponent, a demanding training regimen, or the pressure of competition. However, like the cow, avoiding challenges often leads to missed opportunities for growth and personal development.


The Bison

On the other hand, there's the bison, renowned for its resilience in facing storms head-on. The bison understands that storms are inevitable but chooses to confront them with unwavering strength. In the realm of sports psychology, we encourage athletes to adopt a mindset like a bison — to face challenges directly, viewing them as opportunities to enhance mental toughness and sharpen their competitive edge.


So, how can athletes cultivate this bison mindset?

  • Acceptance and Adaptation: The bison doesn't resist the storm; instead, it accepts reality and adapts accordingly. Athletes can benefit from acknowledging the challenges they face, embracing them as part of the journey, and adapting their mindset to navigate through adversity.

  • Mindful Presence: Much like the bison remains present in the storm, athletes can benefit from staying mindful during high-pressure situations. Mindfulness techniques, such as deep breathing or visualization, can help athletes stay focused on the present moment, rather than getting overwhelmed by future uncertainties.

  • Building a Support System: Bison often face storms together in a group, relying on each other for support. Athletes can strengthen their mental resilience by building a solid support system, including coaches, teammates, and sports psychologists, who can provide guidance and encouragement during challenging times.

  • Learning from Setbacks: The bison doesn't let a storm define its future. Similarly, athletes should view setbacks as opportunities for learning and growth. Analyzing performances, identifying areas for improvement, and developing a plan for progress contribute to an athlete's long-term success.

The cow and bison storm analogy offers a valuable perspective on athlete mental toughness. While the cow may seek refuge from challenges, the bison confronts them head-on, emerging stronger and more resilient. By adopting a bison mindset, athletes can navigate the storms of competition and life with grace, determination, and the unwavering belief that challenges are the stepping stones to success. If you are struggling with a bison-type mindset, please schedule a free introductory call with me today to learn new strategies!

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