Staying Positive in Diverse Playing Conditions
Bad weather, less-than-optimal course or field conditions, poor playing surfaces and unfavorable arena circumstances can derail some athletes before the competition even starts.
For example, a swimmer who enters the warm-up pool, finds the water temperature colder than usual and concludes he cannot swim fast in cold water…
Or a golfer who has to start a round under windy conditions and assumes he won’t play well in the wind…
Or a soccer team who is playing a semi-final match in the rain and is dejected about playing in the wet conditions…
If you adopt a negative attitude about poor playing conditions, you are setting yourself up for failure.
Since you can’t change the playing conditions, you have to learn to change your reaction or attitude about the playing conditions.
And with the right attitude, you can use those playing conditions to your advantage.
Most athletes do not like competing in poor or unfavorable playing conditions, but most all competitors face the same conditions.
Knowing that other athletes may hold back when playing in poor playing conditions, if you can stay confident and can grind it out, you have the mental advantage from the very start of the competition.
Here’s an example from the pros…
Former world No. 1 LPGA golfer Shin Ji-Yai refuses to allow bad playing conditions to derail her mental game.
Prior to the final round at the 2017 Women’s PGA Championship, Shin talked about how she deals with bad weather, in particular, the expected windy conditions on the final day of the tournament.
SHIN: “I think tomorrow [the last day of the tournament] is going to be a little bit hotter and also windy, so I try to enjoy the wind, like a friend.”
What a great perspective! Imagine the advantage you have over your competitors when you welcome those so-called “bad playing conditions” as a friend.
Let’s refer back to the examples earlier…
The swimmer who is competing in cold water can instead of complaining, watch the other swimmers shivering during warm-up and tell himself, “They hate this water, but I love it.”
The golfer playing in windy conditions can remind herself, “Everyone is experiencing the same conditions. I know how to play shots with windy conditions.”
The soccer team playing in the rain can talk about how they will remain aggressive and take control of play early in the game, knowing their opponents will probably play cautiously due to the weather.
Remember, it’s not the harsh playing conditions, but your attitude towards those conditions that matters most.
Mindset for Playing in Tough Conditions:
What are the tough conditions that many athletes in your sport would struggle with. Consider weather, sports arena, traveling, opposing fans, not enough time to warm up, etc.
What can you do to embrace these circumstances? How can you change the way you think about these circumstances to make it work for you?
Also, have a plan of attack to deal with these conditions ahead of time. Having a plan will help you feel more at ease when facing some difficult playing conditions.
And always remember, half of the athletes will panic or complain about harsh conditions! Do you want to be in that half or embrace the conditions as your friend?
Related Sports Psychology Articles
- Mindset for Playing in Tough Conditions
- How To Perform Well Despite Tough Conditions
- Mental Toughness as an Underdog
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The Focused Athlete
It’s probably no secret that you have many opportunities to become distracted in sports. Athletes are bombarded with both internal and external distractions everyday in practice and competition. Focused athletes are able to get the most from their skills because they are more efficient with practice and more concentrated in competition. Athletes who lack focus let distractions run wild through their mind and don’t know how to adjust or refocus.
The Focused Athlete was developed for any level coach, parent, or junior to professional athlete who wants to improve performance and gain a competitive edge. It does not matter if you are a fledgling junior athlete; or a seasoned professional, plagued with distractions; or you just wanting to learn how to improve concentration…
“The Focused Athlete” is a complete system to teach you how to focus like a champion and harness the power of a zone focus every time you step on the playing field, court, track, or course in practice and games!