How do Predictions From Others Affect Your Performance?
For example, if you overheard your coach telling another person that you would probably lose or win a competition, how much would that comment affect your play? Would you buy into that prediction, or would you stay focused and just “go for it?”
Many athletes hear predictions and accept them as facts. In fact, some athletes make predictions in their heads as if they were fortune tellers, “That team is undefeated. They are going to crush us today,” or “That athlete is ranked No. 1. There is no way I can win.”
Buying into a prediction makes it more likely to occur. Here’s why… When you predict you will lose, you will become anxious. You feel your muscles tense up. You have difficulty focusing. These conditions will throw off your mechanics.
You will hold back in your effort. These conditions set you up to fail just because you predicted you would fail.
A prediction or preconceived ideas about an opponent is a statement about what might happen in the future. Predictions are not facts but guesses about a possible outcome.
Even if the prediction seems likely, it is not a guarantee. Think of how many times a weather forecast was incorrect. Just because a weather person predicts a sunny day, sometimes those predictions are wrong.
Predictions can become expectations, and negative expectations become self-fulfilling prophecies.
The best strategy to deal with predictions is to view them as external noise.
You may not be able to prevent the noise, but you can choose not to pay attention to it. Paying attention to noise or distractions makes them bigger.
In Game 6 of the 2022 NBA Eastern Conference finals, the Miami Heat faced off against the Boston Celtics. The Celtics were favored to win. With the Celtics being up 3-2 in the series, many thought the Celtics would close out the series in Game 6.
Even Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green said, “We’re gonna play Boston,” after the Warriors eliminated the Dallas Mavericks to reach the NBA Finals.
However, the Heat ignored the “predictions” from others and pulled off an impressive 111-103 victory to force a Game 7.
After the game, veteran Heat forward P.J. Tucker commented about predictions being mere opinions and winning comes down to physically outperforming your opponent.
TUCKER: “Tell Draymond [Green] I said, ‘Thank you,’ It’s funny. We laughed. I thought it was funny because he knows better than anybody. We still got to play the game. Got to play. There are no guarantees of anybody winning in this league on a night-in and night-out basis.”
Predictions from others are opinions and have no impact on the game unless you allow those opinions to seep into your mind and take over your focus.
When you prepare to compete, remember that what you think matters… what you focus on matters… and your effort matters.
Dealing with Predictions and Opinions:
Remind yourself of the weather example. Just because someone makes a prediction does not mean that opinion will come to pass.
You got to play the game. You need to show up and compete. You have to give yourself a chance. Avoid expectations and predictions about how it should go.
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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