4 Mental Game Tips To Take Your Practice Game To Competition

Trust Your Skills

Do You Lose Trust In Competition?

The number one reason athletes, coaches, and parents contact me is when athletes can’t take their practice game to competition.

Do you look like a star in practice, but choke up in competition? Freezing up (or what I call lack of trust) in competition is a common challenge for many athletes.

Does your performance feel tight, controlled, or lack of freedom when you compete?

Why do athletes tense up and lose trust in their skills when they compete? Athletes lose trust for many reasons. Here are a few:

  • They worry too much about your competitors (intimidation)
  • They become too analytical about your performance (over control)
  • They are anxious or scared to lose (fear of failure)
  • They try too hard to perform perfectly in competition (perfectionism)
  • They can’t transfer their hard-earned practice confidence to competition

If your mind is getting in the way during competition, what’s the solution?

The first step is to understand how you are sabotaging your game in competition.

Do you focus too much on having perfect form during a game? Do you try to be perfect when performing? Does your coach over-coach you right before game time and you try to do everything the coach says? Are you afraid to make mistakes?

Once you understand how you’re getting in your own way, you can address it and make changes.

Why is it important to trust your physical skills?

In order to trust, you need to let go trying too hard to perform your learned skills. It is paramount that you are able to perform spontaneously and intuitively.

Here are four mental game tips to help you take your practice to competition and trust you skills:

  1. Leave practice on the practice field
    Learn to trust in what you practiced that week. Your practice is over and now is the time to become a performer in competition and “let it happen.”
  2. Perform in the here-and-now
    Let go of how well or correctly you are performing. Avoid over analyzing the last shot, play, or routine. Keep your mind focused on one point or shot at a time, not the past mistake.
  3. Keep your performance simple
    Avoid trying to think about the six things your golf instructor or hitting coach told you to do. Think about one feeling or image, such as see the hoop or target and trust your shot.
  4. Commit to winning ugly and to get the job done when you compete
    Let go of trying to perform perfectly with no mistakes and think about getting the job done efficiently. I call this performing functionally or winning ugly.

For all my mental game strategies for more trust in your skills, check out The Fearless Athlete Program.

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The Fearless Athlete

For the last two decades, I’ve been working with athletes and helping them optimize their physical ability by teaching them the secrets of top performing athletes. Now, you too can learn how to regain that child-like fearless attitude.

Mental toughness is what separates the winner from the loser in any competition. Champion athletes train hard in practice, perform without fear in competition, and trust their skills in crunch-time.

The Fearless Athlete program is ideal for any athlete that wants to overcome fear of failure and uncover inhibiting perfectionistic traits; or for any coach or parent who wants to teach athletes to perform with trust and freedom in competition.

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