How to React to a Poor Performance

Overcome Bad Performance

Stop Dwelling on Mistakes for a Better Mindset

How do you process a disastrous performance? How do you move on from a performance that is so devastating that you want to leave the arena as fast as possible?

Every athlete can point to that one horrible performance they would want to erase from their career.

Many athletes reach out to ask how they can move forward after horrible performances.

Disastrous performances happen in every sport: baseball pitchers may be pulled from the game in the first inning after giving up 6 runs… golfers could be carded three triple-bogeys in one round of golf… basketball players may shoot 0-for-12 and turn the ball over several times in one game.

A terrible performance in competition can leave you feeling emotionally and mentally defeated. You may begin to lose confidence in your abilities and feel so embarrassed or nervous to face your coach that you don’t want to even show up to practice.

The bad performance itself is not the problem. As stated before, even the best athletes in the world have horrible days. The problem is when the bad performance gets stuck on repeat in your head. Replaying and reliving bad performances evokes a powerful negative emotional response that can create a performance rut that is difficult to dig yourself out of.

If you allow a bad performance to infect your mindset, it will affect your future performances. You will feel stuck, anxious and fearful that you will repeat this performance over and over.

“Disastrous” is how WTA player Sofia Kenin described her 6-0, 6-0 loss to Victoria Azarenka at the 2020 Italian Open.

Kenin was ranked No. 3 in the world before being shut out by Azarenka.

KENIN: “We came to Paris and I had a week or so to practice, to get used to the clay. I just tried to not think about that match. That match I’m never gonna watch.”

A lot of athletes struggle to shed the memories of bad performances. But if you continue to relive the bad experience, it only makes it harder to forget.

Re-watching your mental movie of a bad performance causes the ending stick in your mind and makes it feel impossible to move forward.

What you choose to watch over and over, you expect to repeat. When you replay negative performances, the likelihood is that you will continue to have additional poor performances.

How do you put horrible performances behind you?

Turn the channel… Watch something else… Tune into or focus on something that leads to better results.

Visualization is an effective strategy to turn the channel to the positive:

–Visualize past top performances.
–Visualize how you want to perform in the future.
–Visualize yourself rebounding from mistakes or losses and achieving success.

Getting back on the horse, so to speak, depends on how quickly you turn the mental channels and focus on self-enhancing images.

How to Move On After a Poor Performance:

Feed yourself a daily dose of self-enhancing images. Avoid replaying the bad plays in your mind.

Visualize 10-15 minutes every day and see yourself performing how you want to perform.

Replace the bad images in your mind with positive imagery to overcome bad performances.

Don’t allow negative images to sabotage your performance. Feed yourself with positive images through visualization and you will enhance your performance.

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