Do You Underestimate Your Opponents?
Have you ever entered a competition where you were the overwhelming favorite to win and just tanked?
You can look to many examples in sports when top-ranked athletes or winning teams suffer an upset loss at the hands of a weaker opponent.
Despite many cautionary tales, many top-ranked athletes still fall into the “under-estimation” trap when facing a lower-seeded opponent.
Why does this happen so many times in sports?
Well, it all boils down to a false sense of confidence, call it over confidence.
For some top athletes, success comes easy. These athletes who perform in dominant fashion during the season expect it to continue especially when they face weaker teams.
Sometimes, these athletes look past their competition and look forward to an opponent they see as more competitive.
When you underestimate an opponent, you are not accounting for how hard your opponent has been working, how motivated your opponent will be to pull off an upset or having an off day yourself.
“On any given day…” refers to the fact that victory is never guaranteed and given the right circumstances, even the best teams can fall.
Every game, every match, every tournament or every meet is filled with competitors game-planning, fighting, scratching and clawing to end up victorious.
If you are not willing to give it all you got in your preparation, effort and focus, then you are opening up the chance for an upset.
An example of the “under-estimation trap” is the 2019 NBA matchup between the Western Conference leading Denver Nuggets and the Phoenix Suns, the team with the worst record in the Western Conference.
The Nuggets had nearly three times as many wins as the Suns had this season.
Nonetheless, the Suns upset the Nuggets, 102-93 with their high energy play and aggressive defense.
Nuggets center, Nikola Jokic, commented that the Nuggets took their opponents lightly.
According to Jokic, the Nuggets thought the game was going to be an easy win and underestimated the Suns.
JOKIC: “I think we thought it was going to be easy. ‘I’m going to make this pass. I’m going to try this, I’m going to try that.’ I think we played their record, not their personnel. Those guys are playing hard right now.”
No opponent is a pushover. On any given day, weaker opponents can challenge you.
No matter how talented you are or how dominant your team is playing, you will not win every game.
Even the best athletes have off days.
Nevertheless, you need to prepare and approach every competition with the same degree of intensity, no matter what the level of your competition.
Taking your opponent lightly only makes competitions more challenging.
How to Not Be Over Confident:
Develop the habit of preparing the same way for every opponent. Practice with the same intensity.
Use the same pregame routine that helps you get your intensity up and game face on.
Have a sound game-plan for each competition.
Find the game within the game to help you get into the flow. Challenge yourself to push yourself to your limits–don’t expect to skate by the opponent.
Boost Your Self-Confidence And Focus With Expert Mental Game Coaching!
Master mental game coach Dr. Patrick Cohn can help you overcome your mental game issues with personal coaching.
You can work with Dr. Patrick Cohn himself in Orlando, Florida or via Skype, FaceTime, or telephone. Call us toll free at 888-742-7225 or contact us for more information about the different coaching programs we offer!
What are our mental coaching students saying?
“Both of the last 2 weekends, Nicolas had high-pressure basketball tournaments where he really showed improvement and maturity! He reacted very calmly to missed shots and mistakes and was very poised in the very close finals game. We have never seen him so composed and locked-in on the issue at hand! He has also realized that and tells us that he feels more calm and confident than before.”
~Alex Mylonas, Nicolas’ father
“I learned to play with a confidence that it does not matter if I make it or miss the shot… So what if I miss, it’s only a game.”
~Paul Rask, basketball player
Athlete’s Mental Edge Workbook System 2.0 – Updated in 2018!
If you’re an established mental game professional, just starting your career, or a team coach, would you believe me if I said that I’ve discovered a new system that will help your athletes improve faster and add value to your mental coaching programs?
We’ve developed an entire series of workbooks designed to help athletes learn mental strategies specifically with the mental coach in mind.
The Athlete’s Mental Edge workbooks complement your existing mental training program—they do not replace your regular one-on-one coaching sessions.
The Athlete’s Mental Edge Workbooks Help You:
- Improve your athlete’s commitment to mental training
- Organize homework assignments and strategies you provide
- Accelerate your athlete’s learning curve with the mental game
- Allow you to do more coaching or fine tuning and less “teaching”
- Improve organization to your follow up sessions
- Obtain timely feedback from your athletes about their use of mental skills in competition
- Add perceived value to your current mental training programs
Tn the “Athlete’s Mental Edge” Workbook System, you get:
- 19 easy-to-read, practical Mental Edge Workbooks on PDF. Each workbook focuses on a specific topic in sports psychology that will help accelerate your athletes’ learning between your sessions.
- 19 Coaches’ Game Plan MP3 Audio Files. Each MP3 program helps clarify the objective of the workbook (Great for coaches who do not have a formal training in sports psychology and want more details).
NEW in 2018 with Version 2.0 Workbooks
- We’ve added four new workbook lessons including a workbook on managing confidence killers, a workbook for sports parents, helping athletes returning to competition after injury, and seven teamwork and communication seminars in one workbook. That’s 19 workbooks in all!
- All-new revised chapters and exercises. We’ve streamlined and improved the workbook exercises to simplify learning for athletes and coaches.
- All new user-friendly formatting with photos, pull-quotes, and key points. There are also PDF-fillable versions of the workbooks to send to your athletes.
- BONUS: New in 2018! You now have the ability, if you choose, to co-brand the workbooks with your logo or name! We’ve provided video directions and documents to help you change the cover page logo to your own for each of the workbooks!