The Four C’s of Performance

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It is no secret that Triathlon can be a very demanding sport. Not only does it require you to master three different sports, but also to grasp the skills around transition, nutrition, recovery and equipment maintenance. Triathlon, as a personal challenge, requires an individual plan to be put in place in order to achieve your objectives. From finishing a race, to winning an age group podium or even an Elite athlete, our mind needs to be ready to face the challenge and develop the necessary mental toughness.

Over the last couple of years, researchers have developed the concept of the Four C’s for Mental Toughness. The Four C’s define the different traits and characteristics an individual requires to excel at the mental game when racing.

The Four C’s; Confidence, Concentration, Control and Commitment. These are the traits that are said to be present at all times when thinking about racing. It doesn’t matter if you are just beginning in the sport, or if you are a seasoned professional preparing your half ironman training plan. Adressing the 4 Cs is crucial in your journey towards your athletic dreams.


Many authors from different parts of the world will agree that you must believe in your own abilities. True confidence means not giving up when things seem difficult or when a big obstacle is put in front of you. You might be unsure about whether or not you are a good swimmer, cyclist or runner, but as long as you trust your capacity to learn and the might of your will to achieve your goals, it is just matter of time before you become the best version of yourself.

Being confident also means that you need to work hand in hand with the people around you. Understanding and having confidence in our families, our coaches, the professionals around us (Physios, Nutritionists, Podiatrist, Therapists, etc.). They all have a very important role in your overall process and trusting them also means taking some pressure off yourself. 


Generally, concentration is understood to be “staying focused on your goal.” Having the ability to focus all of your attention on your personal objectives will reduce distraction and help you consistently make improvements that drive you towards your goals. Concentration is your bridge between performance and success.

When progressing towards any goal, it is imperative that you keep in sight the reason why you started your journey. Every individual will have a different reason, from weight loss to athletic improvement to life balance. Maintaining your concentration when pushing those harder sessions is as important as knowing when to pull back and relax.

Knowing how to prepare yourself is of the highest importance if you want to maintain your concentration. From developing a routine, to preparing motivational phrases, any action that you recognise as necessary to help you maintain your concentration will also become a part of helping you reach and maintain a high performance.


Work on what you can control and don’t waste your time trying to change what is out of your control. As Theologist Reinhold Neibuhr quoted in the 1930’s “…grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”

Developing this Control mindset will also help you prioritise what is important for you, what can you change and where your attention should focus. For Triathlon, this means knowing where to best develop your skills and work on adapting to the different challenges training and racing provides.

Control is connected to Confidence, as it relies on your capacity to adapt to the challenges life sends your way. This means having control over your thoughts both when you are having the race of your life and when things don’t happen the way you expect. It means staying calm and collected and focusing your energy on thinking of the steps required to achieve your objective. Your attitude towards challenges will help you develop control over your own life.


Commitment is simply a promise to yourself. You can commit to many things in your life, but in the end, it is a promise with yourself to reach your goal regardless of what happens around you.

As when referring to controlling what we can control, commitment needs to be goal oriented at all times. When things are going well it is relatively easy to maintain your motivation, however, when things seem difficult or when you don’t feel that you aren’t getting your expected result, it is necessary to remind yourself of why you initiated your commitment in the first place.

Setting a goal is required to know where you are going, but sticking to that goal path is what commitment is all about. Doing whatever it takes to get where you want to be is a trait that only few have. It is not only staying positive, but staying honest with yourself and your goals.

“If you are committed to overcoming this temporary situation, success is around the corner.”

The four Cs – Confidence, Concentration, Control and Commitment. They are all connected and required to reach your goals. Actively working on these four traits won’t guarantee a result, but it does ensure that you are on the right path towards your goals. If you need help in setting goals or planning the pathway to reaching your goals, contact us and we’ll be happy to call you for a chat.

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