Maintaining Focus When Your Best Player is Out
Playing without your best player… That’s the moment when many athletes feel their team is at a disadvantage.
Playing without your best player in the playoffs… Well, that is the time when most players see their hopes go down the drain.
When you have a top-tier player on your team, especially if that player is one of the best in the league, the tendency is to rely heavily on their ability to pull the team to victory…
When you are trailing late in a game, you rely on your team’s best player to take over the game…
When you are playing one of the top teams in the league, you rely on your team’s top player to set the tone for the game…
When you are winning late in a game, you rely on your team’s best player to take control and close out the game…
Then, all of a sudden, your team’s top player gets hurt and is out of commission for the next game.
How can we win without our best player?
There is often a collective sense of helplessness and hopelessness from teams playing without their star player.
Even prior to the start of the game, you doubt that you can pull off the victory and this negatively affects your focus, effort and performance during the game.
There are two major problems when you feel you cannot win when your best player is sidelined:
1. When you believe you cannot win, you are focused primarily on the outcome of the game.
You cannot focus on the current moment and that is the only moment where you can affect the outcome of the game. No one has ever worried themselves to victory. Victory is a series of battles won in the present moment.
2. When you rely on just one player, you are negating the collective abilities of the team.
A quarterback cannot win a game unless he has a quality offensive in front of him and receivers that can catch the ball. A softball pitcher cannot win a game by herself… The pitcher needs a catcher, infielders and outfielders that can make plays.
The New England Patriots are faced with a situation where their best player, quarterback Tom Brady, will be playing the AFC Championship game with stitches in his throwing hand.
Some consider Brady, 5-time Super Bowl Champion and 4-time Super Bowl MVP, the greatest quarterback to play the game.
Entering the game, Patriot players are not focused on Brady’s injury but performing their jobs to the best of their abilities.
Patriot center, David Andrews, stated he is focused on his role during the game.
ANDREWS: “Like I said, I am worried about what I’m doing. I snap it to all the quarterbacks. Whoever is back there, I am going to snap it to.”
Even Patriot backup quarterback Brian Hoyer is focused on his preparation.
HOYER: “I prepare every week like I’m going to play.”
In order for any team to win, with or without their best player, they need to focus on their preparation and the job they need to perform in the moment.
Maintaining Focus When Your Star is Missing:
Write down what your game-time role will be. Be specific.
Each practice, focus on your role and the preparation for the upcoming game.
Have faith that your team members can take up the slack and come together to makeup for a star player.
And make sure you focus on the right stuff when you perform:
Improve Concentration in Sports!
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If you’re a top performer during practice but find yourself under-performing in competition, the most likely culprit holding you back is your mental game.
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