Making a Comeback With Momentum
At the end of a game, athletes need to have the energy to successfully close out the game. Not just physical energy… You also need the mental stamina to finish games strong.
There are many potential factors that zap your mental energy:
- Mistakes and frustration
- Fear of losing
- Physical tiredness
- Bad officiating
- Tough competition
- Hoopla around the game
When a team loses momentum, they lose mental energy causing them to focus on mistakes, turnovers, and losing.
Super Bowl LI was a tale of mental energy and momentum.
One team, the New England Patriots lose all momentum in the first half of the game. However, they were able to change momentum in the second half with a few key plays.
The Atlanta Falcons, lost their early momentum and had nothing in the tank at the end of the game.
The Atlanta Falcons squandered a 25-point lead after holding the Pats to only three points in the first half. The Falcons gave up 31 from the third quarter on and lost the game in overtime.
Both teams made mistakes, saw the opposing team make a run, and competed in a physically grueling contest. The difference lies in each team’s focus and who had the momentum at the end of the game.
The Patriots focused on making plays to get back in the game and into position to win. This focus provided momentum for the Patriots as they determinedly fought against great odds.
The Falcons, on the other hand, seemed mentally fatigued and not able to make the plays when they needed to the most. The were trying to hold onto the lead, playing to not lose.
Rookie linebacker De’Vondre Campbell talked about how the Falcons’ defense lost a little bit of their edge in the second half.
CAMPBELL: “As a defense, we kind of lost a little bit of our aggression during the game, that we had early in the game. I just thought we lost it a little bit. I just felt like as a defense we kind of got away from our fundamentals a little bit. We were missing some pretty easy tackles.”
Falcons head coach Dan Quinn concurred that his team’s mental energy dropped causing them the Super Bowl title.
“We ran out of gas.”
Meanwhile, the Patriots’ energy grew as they continued to make plays down the stretch and get momentum on their side.
Patriots receiver Chris Hogan talked about the team’s ability to stay focused, in particular, Tom Brady’s laser-focus.
HOGAN: “[Brady is] laser-focused, and the entire time, there wasn’t a time where we looked at Tom like he knew this thing was over. There wasn’t a doubt in my mind. We have one of the best quarterbacks that ever played the game.”
The lesson learned is that you can focus on making a comeback or try to hang on to a lead and not lose. Hanging on to a big lead didn’t work in this case.
If you can stay focused on making one play at a time and grab momentum to fuel your performance, you have the ingredients for making a comeback.
Tips For Making a Comeback
Remember, mental energy all comes down to focus.
You can’t think that you have lost the competition until the last play of the game.
Second, look for and grab changes in momentum to propel your team.
Even if you are down in the game, you can still have confidence in your skills. You are only missing momentum, which can change with one play of the game.
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