World long jump champion Tianna Bartoletta reclaimed the title in Beijing ten years after first capturing the prize as a teenager at the 2005 World Championships in Helsinki. The American shares her words of wisdom.

Have confidence

“When I was younger I don’t think I knew what having confidence was. Then as I get older and life beats you up, you lose touch with that invincibility. It was only from about 2012 did I discover that confidence and belief in yourself is integral to major performance. 

“When you are not competing well and things just start to fall apart, it makes you believe you are not good enough, so those nagging thoughts just grow and grow and the longer period you have without a good performance, you almost feel validated in that negativity. It is really hard to break. That’s what I was: down in the dumps and depressed, but I finally got to break out of that. I would credit my husband, John, for getting me out of that. I started out with a few little victories which helped rebuild my confidence and then the results really started to improve.”

Tianna Bartoletta SPIKES ()

In 2005 Bartoletta (then Madison) won her first long jump world title. Ten years later she regained her crown.

Control the controllables

“It is really easy to zoom out and micromanage everything. Yet, where I think I performed well at the 2015 World Championships final was by only focusing on myself in Beijing. Two other women jumped 7 metres and it would have been really easy to become fazed by that. Instead, I focused on nailing my first eight steps and then looked at each stage of the jump. I thought ‘these are the things I can control’. I didn't change my process and I just went through my game plan.

“If I had thought differently, I would have been overwhelmed. This is probably an important lesson in not only sport but life in general.” 

Tianna Bartoletta SPIKES ()

Bartoletta snatched gold in Beijing with a final round jump of 7.14m – a personal best

Evaluate yourself honestly

“At the end of every season me, my husband and my coach, Loren Seagrave, have an honest discussion about what we did well and what we did not do so well and then develop a game plan for the next season. I have to be honest with myself and even after winning the world title it would be a bit delusional to say that everything went perfectly. 

“You also have to have people around you who are honest, otherwise they are doing you a disservice. Looking back on my 2014 season I remember feeling that I did not have enough core strength and my sprinting mechanics were inconsistent. I feel both are still far from perfect but they were better than before. It is important to be honest when setting realistic and challenging goals for the next season.”