How to Approach an Important Competition
Do you wish you could play BIG in BIG moments?
All athletes want to come up BIG in BIG moments such as:
- The gymnast who hopes to nail her routine in a championship meet.
- The golfer who dreams of sinking a birdie putt to win a golf tournament.
- The basketball player who wants to sink the final shot to win a playoff game.
- The baseball reliever who dreams of striking out the side in the ninth inning to win a game against a rival baseball team.
Unfortunately, many athletes not only fall short, but under perform in BIG moments.
What happens to athletes in BIG moments?
Many athletes believe they just don’t have what it takes to perform BIG in BIG moments. These athletes see this type of performance as reserved for a few top-tier athletes.
Not only is that untrue but it doesn’t address why so many athletes under perform.
Basically, under performing in big moments boils down to expectations and pressure. The higher you set your expectations, the greater the pressure and, thus, many athletes fail to perform up to their abilities.
There are two main reasons why athletes under perform in these circumstances:
- One reason is that some athletes see the competition as BIGGER than it is. That is they place too much importance on the competition. When you see the competitions as bigger than it is, you create more pressure.
- The other reason is that athletes feel they need to perform BIGGER than they ever have in the past. Excessively high expectations coupled with trying to be perfect are a recipe for under-performance.
Let’s examine a recent example from the NBA…
The Philadelphia Sixers played against the Toronto Raptors in a Game 7 matchup, with the winner advancing to the Eastern Conference Championship.
Sixers head coach Brett Brown described the game as the most important game of the season.
BROWN: “Playing in Game 7s is different. There just is a heightened sense of urgency in Game 7s, and it incrementally increases as the clock winds down.”
The Sixers may have felt more pressure as a result to the “BIG” game approach. The Sixers missed their first eight shots and didn’t score until midway through the first quarter. Also, the Sixers turned the ball over 15 times and made a few critical miscues late in the game.
One of the more consistent players throughout the series was Sixers forward Jimmy Butler. Butler’s approach to games seemed to have a less frenetic feel.
BUTLER: “We just want to win. Do whatever they ask me to do, try the best of my ability to win the game, and help in any way that they tell me or want me to do it.”
Now, the right approach to a competition doesn’t ensure a victory but it fosters consistency and keeps your mind from over-emphasizing the importance of a competition.
Big Competitions Mindset:
Consistency starts with consistency in mental preparation.
You want to develop a consistent pregame routine. Review past competitions to determine what has worked best for you in the past.
Remember that “focusing on the process brings desired results.” You don’t want to obsess about what winning or losing the BIG game would mean to you.
Instead, you want to focus on one play, point, or pitch at a time!
Learn all my strategies for a focused pregame routine and playing BIG in BIG games with “The Relaxed Athlete.”
Improve Mental Preparation in Sports!
If you’re an athlete who is frequently tight, tense, anxious, or wants to learn more about how to relax better under pressure, The Relaxed Athlete is for you!
Confidence and the ability to relax under adversity is what championship athletes do best.
It only takes one tense moment for you to lose a critical point, miss a putt, or lose a second off your lap time. You cannot afford to let distractions run wild in your mind and cause you to make errors at critical times in the game!
The Relaxed Athlete is a complete system to teach you how to relax like a champion and harness the power of relaxation every time you step on the playing field, court, track or course in practice and games!
This workbook and CD program consists of 2 audio CDs that include 14 days of focus boosting exercises and a simple to follow workbook that guides you through each of the 14 days, helps you apply strategies, and customizes the exercises to your personal focus challenges.
- How to quickly identify distractions that sabotage your concentration and how to quickly refocus after distractions.
- How to use pre-shot routines before shots or serves to help you be more task-focused instead of worrying about results.
- How to use pregame routines to help you harness the power of zone concentration before competition.
Learn more about one of our most popular CD programs in The Confident Athlete Series…
What are customers saying about our mental game programs?
“As a result of reading and implementing ‘The Confident Athlete Series,’ I am once again enjoying golf and letting bad shots roll off my shoulders and appreciating my good shots without attaching expectations. Thanks Dr. Cohn!”
~Stu Blasius, P.G.A. Golf Professional
“Your response to the throwing problem in front of the coach covers so many situations in life…that is the beauty of playing sports…the life learning experiences. Keep up the good work…you are the best mental coach.”
~Bill Brennan, sports parent