What is The Key to Breaking a Losing Streak?
Losing streaks come in a couple forms: a number of consecutive losses to several teams or the inability to beat one particular team over a long period of time.
Whichever type of losing streak you might have experienced, it can have a devastating effect on how you approach a game.
If you are facing a team that has had your number over the past several years, you may approach the game with a great deal of trepidation instead of being excited for the challenge of ending the streak.
When you buy into history repeating itself, you are conceded defeat even before kickoff…
Come game time, you will have that ‘here-we-go-again’ feeling and just want the outcome to be respectable.
This mindset heaps pressure on you and the accompanying anxiety becomes overwhelming…
This is when mistakes happen… a shanked field goal, then a missed tackle, followed by a dropped pass, a turnover and then next thing you know, you have given up a slew of big plays.
All of these mistakes confirm your pregame prediction… you can’t beat this team!
The University of Tennessee football team found themselves in a similar predicament. The Vols had an 11-game losing streak against University of Florida when they faced the Gators in their early season match up.
Mindset would be everything if the Vols were to beat a team they hadn’t beat since 2004.
University of Tennessee professor emeritus of sport psychology Dr. Craig Wrisberg responded to the question, “Can a losing streak impact players’ performance?”
WRISBERG: “It can if they let it. The only play that matters is the next one. Play forward… Don’t drag the past into the present. We want the present clear, clean, so that we can fully devote our energy and attention to the present.”
Wrisberg stated the key to breaking a losing streak is a matter of mindset and focus.
WRISBERG: “When I think of the mental game or the mental side of competing, I think there’s like three P’s. Process–focus, present tense, staying positive: expecting to succeed. Overcoming a losing streak is a matter of mindset and focusing on those three P’s is what can give Tennessee its long-awaited win.”
The Vols refused to let history repeat itself. Despite being down 21-3 at halftime, the Vols surged forward and scored 21 points in the fourth quarter and won 38-28.
The Vols had the right mindset to keep themselves focused no matter the circumstances or game situations.
If you want to improve your mental game, you MUST train for the mental side of competing.
Strategies for overcoming a losing streak:
1. Process-Focus – Don’t worry about how the game might end… Instead, focus on executing the game strategy. Executing the game strategy will give you the greatest chance for victory.
2. Overcome Generalizations – You can’t buy into the idea that we always lose to this team or we are on a losing steak.
3. Nameless or Numberless – Don’t label your opponents as a team that has your number. Treat them as another team that you’ll play to your strengths to win the game.
By following the 3 P’s, you can change history!
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