How do your emotions–positive or negative–affect your team’s mindset and performance?
The impact your emotions have on your team is often overlooked. You may feel that negative emotions or outbursts only hurt your game, but the impact is much more wide-reaching.
Let’s look at two scenarios. Imagine a basketball team who is battling for a playoff spot.
One player is particularly volatile on the court if a teammate makes a mistake. He yells at that player and won’t even pass him the ball when he’s open.
All the players on the court and the bench sense his anger and frustration. The tension on the court affects the whole team dynamic.
In our second scenario, a quarterback is sacked for the fourth time in a game. He stands on the sideline with his head down, dejected, and isolates himself from his teammates.
He appears to have given up on the team, and with five minutes left in the fourth quarter trailing by 10 points, the offense begins to feel the game is lost. Those negative emotions send messages to your teammates, affecting how they respond to you and perform in the game.
Negative emotions can trigger a domino effect throughout your team. Negative emotions poison team morale, cohesion, and motivation.
Conversely, positive emotions can also trigger a productive mood among your teammates. If you feel determined, those around you will pick up on those emotions, and your teammates will feel energized.
If you make a mistake in a game but maintain your poise, your teammates will take notice.
They will feel confident, motivated, and focused on responding positively. When you are excited to meet a challenge in a game, your teammates will rally around you.
One player on a team makes a difference!
To become aware of your emotional impact on your team, you should consider three key points:
- How have you responded to stressful circumstances in the past?
- How did your negative emotions affect your performance?
- How did your emotions impact your teammates’ performance?
Having a productive impact on your team is a quality of positive leadership
As the Philadelphia Eagles headed into the 2023 Super Bowl, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox was asked about Philadelphia’s quarterback Jalen Hurts’ poise and leadership.
COX: “Even when times, things aren’t going our way or his way, you never see him really frustrated. You never see him screaming at a teammate for maybe messing something up, or it didn’t go the way that he wanted it to go. When your quarterback is like that, you definitely want to go out and play harder for him.”
The spread of emotions between teammates impacts team play. Therefore, managing your emotions is a critical mental skill for individual and team peak performance.
Start considering how your emotions affect your performance or the play of your teammates. Think about the message you want to send to your teammates in future competitions. How can you respond in stressful situations that motivate and energize your team?
You cannot stop emotions from occurring, but you can learn to manage your emotions through diligent mental training.
Related Sports Psychology Articles
- The Mindset to Perform at a Higher Level
- Having Fun While Performing at Your Best
- The Importance of Mental Toughness
*Subscribe to The Sports Psychology Podcast on iTunes
*Subscribe to The Sports Psychology Podcast on Spotify
Download a free sports psychology report to improve your mental game!
Learn more about our one-on-one mental game coaching.
The Relaxed Athlete
You can possess all the physical talent in the world, the best equipment money can buy, and train harder or longer than anyone else in your sport or on your team, but if self-doubt enters your mind prior to competition, you simply will not realize your true potential in sports.
The Relaxed Athlete” audio and workbook program teaches you mental strategies to develop a focused and confident pregame routine for a poised and relaxed mindset. Learn how to get your mind right by overcoming pregame anxiety and worry.