How to Recover Like the Pros After Losses

How to Reach for Your Athletic Potential

Do you Feel Demoralized After a Bad Game?

It’s one thing to have a bad game, but a disastrous game can be mentally deflating. 

Even worse are consecutive horrible games. When you have back-to-back disastrous performances, those are the times you want to call it quits.

For instance, how would you feel if you were a gymnast who can’t seem to stick the landing on a vault in competitions? Would you be excited for the next competition or fearful that you would “mess up” again?

Let’s look at the 2022 Cincinnati Bengals as an example. The Cincinnati Bengals lost the first two games of the 2022 NFL season after making it to the Super Bowl the previous year.

It’s not just losing two games but how the Bengals lost the games, giving up seven sacks. Cincinnati quarterback Joe Burrow, the 2021 NFL Comeback Player of the Year, has particularly under performed. 

Burrow has thrown four interceptions, and his quarterback ranking is 19th in the league.

However, Burrow is handling his circumstances like a player with a champion mindset. Instead of allowing mistakes to define him, he has put the team’s slow start in perspective and has put a positive spin on the situation.

BURROW: “I’ve got to play better for us to win, but it is what it is at this point. Interceptions are going to happen. You try and limit them the best you can, but you’ve got to move on.”

Burrow is not worried about the team’s slow start.

BURROW: “No panic. We’ve lost two games before. We lost two straight games several times last year. There’s a lot of football to be played. We moved on from those games and made the corrections we needed to make. We have a great coaching staff that will do that, and we have the players to make it happen.”

Look at Burrow’s mental process and the reason for his positive outlook:

  • When you take personal responsibility for your performance, you will feel empowered that you can turn things around.
  • Letting go of the past frees your mind to focus on the present.
  • When you realize mistakes are going to happen, you won’t feel devastated when they do occur.
  • You can use evidence from the past to support your ability to overcome adversity in the present.
  • You can bounce back when you put your circumstances in perspective, and don’t panic.
  • “We moved on from those games and made the corrections we needed to make.” Taking action puts you in the driver’s seat and helps you maintain confidence.
  • Stable belief in your skills keeps doubts from taking root.

Burrow has laid out a mindset for dealing with disastrous results. Adopting this mindset is the best method for moving forward after bad performances.

You need to WORK to move forward after bad games. While you may be tempted to do more physical work, mental work is also beneficial, such as managing how you respond.

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