Be the Team that Catches the League by Surprise
What are the makings of a “Cinderella” story? In sports, we hear inspiring stories of Cinderella teams upsetting highly-ranked teams or advancing deep in tournaments.
Teams that become Cinderella stories have the mindset that they will battle until the end, no matter who they are playing, where they are playing, or when they are playing.
These teams are so focused on their game that they are not deterred by the ranking or accomplishments of their opponents.
What separates teams that become Cinderella stories from teams that live up to low expectations?
Teams that become Cinderella stories do not see themselves as “Cinderella” teams. The term “Cinderella team” implies a team has a slim chance of winning.
Teams that become Cinderella stories have supreme, stable confidence in their abilities and don’t see themselves as underdogs. They believe they have the same chance to win as their opponents.
Teams that become “Cinderella” stories have several common characteristics:
* Are united and have a common goal. Together, team members pull in the same direction with one objective.
* Trust one another and hold each other to a high standard. Team members expect each player, including themselves, to give their all in their preparation, practice, training, and competition.
* Supportive and encourage each other. When one team member is down, the others pick up the slack.
* Are hungry to achieve success and not afraid to put in the work.
* Are confident and possess team mental toughness to overcome obstacles.
* Believe anything is possible and compete until the final whistle.
In the 2023 NCAA March Madness basketball tournament, fifteenth-seed Princeton upset seventh-seed Missouri, 78-63, to advance to the Sweet 16.
Commentators have labeled Princeton’s run as a Cinderella story. The Princeton Tigers are only the fourth fifteenth-seed to reach the Sweet 16 in men’s March Madness history.
Princeton dominated most of the game, only trailing 3-2 in the opening minutes of the first half. The 15-point win was the largest margin victory in tournament history for a 15 seed.
Senior guard Blake Peters scored 17 points, including 5-of-8 shots from the three-point line.
Peters attributed Princeton’s success to belief, unshakeable confidence, and team unity. Peters did not see the victory as an upset.
PETERS: “I have no words for you. I have the best teammates in the world. When we go out and believe in each other, anything is possible. I know it’s cliche, but anything is possible.”
Princeton’s mindset has given themselves a mental edge over its opponents. The team does not attribute their success to luck. Princeton put in the work and honed its mindset throughout the season.
When you pay attention to mental and physical details, you will always have the chance to succeed and accomplish your objectives.
Developing an elite team mindset requires several steps:
* Work diligently in practice
* Develop trust among teammates.
* Build team cohesion
* Put team first over individual goals
* Challenge each other in practice
The more your team works together to develop a positive team mentality, the greater the chance for team success, no matter who is the opposing team.
Related Sports Psychology Articles
- How to Thrive as an Underdog in Sports
- Mental Toughness as an Underdog
- How to Perform Well on the Court in Big Moments
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