Do you become nervous when you compete against your teammates in practice?
Coaches create competition scenarios in practice and training sessions to improve the team’s ability to perform under pressure and shape each player’s competitive mindset.
Competing in practice makes competing in tournaments and games more appealing. Instead of becoming nervous, you feel more confident. You make fewer mistakes.
You take more risks and feel comfortable taking those risks.
Your mindset towards competition determines your level of performance and pushes you to explore your potential.
However, many athletes feel tremendous pressure when competing for starting roles and playing time. Some players fear being replaced…
They believe losing their status on the team is a negative statement about themselves as athletes. They think, “If I lose playing time, it means that I’m not a good athlete,” or “My coach or teammates don’t believe in me.”
When nervous athletes compete against teammates, they usually under perform.
Other players rise to the challenge. They see competition as an opportunity to develop new skills, raise their game, and improve their mental game. They are not threatened by intra-team competition.
In fact, these athletes look forward to competing. They understand that competition in practice improves their ability to compete in tournaments or games. The mindset is, “You may have beaten me last time, but this time I will win.”
Mindsets are trained, either consciously or unconsciously. So, if you are purposeful, aware, and dedicated, you can change your mindset from being apprehensive about competing to being excited about competing.
Sharpening your competitive mindset in practice gives you a mental edge in competition…
For example, the Philadelphia Sixers made off-season moves, adding new players to the roster to challenge 6-year veteran Furkan Korkmaz. Korkmaz had an off-year during the 2021-22 season. Now, Korkmaz is battling to keep a consistent spot in the rotation.
Korkmaz has welcomed the competition and is confident in his ability to rise to the challenge.
KORKMAZ: “I see all those signings and new players coming in. This is normal. This is the nature of basketball. The way that I ended last year, I’m not offended or [angry] at anybody of who they are signing and everything, but, at the end of the day, if I can be myself, I know what I’m capable of and what I can do. So I’m just gonna try and do my best and give the team whatever it takes to win the championship, and I think I’m gonna be a huge part of it.”
You can view intra-team competition as the chance of losing playing time or as an opportunity to lift your game. Whichever you choose, your mindset makes all the difference in how you perform.
When you embrace competing against teammates, you will enjoy it more and feel less stress.
Using a competitive mindset – during practice and scrimmages – helps you perform better in games.
When you battle for a position in practice, you are preparing mentally for competition. All opportunities to compete helps you become a mentally stronger athlete.
Related Sports Psychology Articles
- The Mindset to Perform at a Higher Level
- Having Fun While Performing at Your Best
- The Importance of Mental Toughness
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