Don't Let The Mistakes Multiply
Making mistakes in sports and in life are inevitable. They happen on an everyday basis.
The problem is that too many of us view mistakes as a sign of failure or incompetence. You end up sabotaging yourself by not letting go of past mistakes.
There needs to be a mindset shift that making mistakes is okay. You need to believe that managing mistakes is the key to success.
Understand that you are not going to be perfect. You are going to strike out, miss a tackle, make a turnover, miss a shot, make an error, get a penalty, not execute, etc.
The challenge that most athletes have is moving on from one mistake and not dwelling on a missed opportunity. They tend to allow one mistake to lead to another mistake.
For example, in basketball, you throw a pass that gets stolen. You should sprint back to make a play. But, most players will attempt to take it from the person that stole it and then he/she passes it ahead for a layup.
Don’t make one mistake become two mistakes. That is hard to do because you just embarrassed yourself. Everybody saw you just turned it over. Developing a next play mentality will help you forget about what just happened and focus on the next play. It will allow you to not allow one mistake lead into another one.
H.A. Dorfman, who was a sports psychologist, won World Series rings with the 1980 Oakland A’s and the 1997 Florida Marlins. He was also a full-time consultant for the Scott Boras Corporation. His quote really reinforces the importance of focusing on the next task. He said, “The lowest common denominator every performer shares is the execution of the next task. What has happened and what might happen will vary with each athlete and each circumstance. But the next task must be a block, a tackle, a pass, a pitch, a stride, or a stroke. It is a universal truth within every game.”
You need to realize that dwelling on a mistake and beating yourself up will start a cycle of negativity that is hard to stop. That negative mindset will not allow you to play in the present moment. You need to realize that most successful people grow and become better through their mistakes. To do this you need make sure your mind is not stuck on your negative past performance.
Golfer Rory McIlroy explained how he stayed in the present moment to win the British Open and the third major championship of his career. “I wasn’t thinking about the end result. I worked on staying in the process on every shot. I wasn’t thinking about what it would mean or how many further clear it would get me.”
To be present you need to make sure that thoughts of past negative experiences don’t exist. You also can’t be thinking of possible future mistakes or failures. Make sure that the clarity of the task at hand is your total focus.
Three simple techniques to help you to “Play Present”:
Flush a Mistake: Make a motion with your hand like you are flushing a toilet. You could also make the noise of water flowing through the toilet to reinforce that you are flushing the mistake away.
Throw Away a Mistake: Act like you are crumbling up a piece of paper. After that, make a motion with your hand that you are throwing the crumbled up paper in a trash basket. This will help communicate to your mind that you are throwing the mistake away and moving on to the next play.
Stomp on a Mistake: Take your foot and act like you are stomping the floor to smash a bug. This will indicate to your mind that the mistake is no longer alive and can’t affect you anymore.
It can feel silly to do this at first, but the act will make you smile (maybe even laugh) and that's what we're looking for!
You're already stepping into your high-performer self! Again, remember to focus on the good to keep yourself focused and winning.
Being present and playing with a mind that is focused on the next task is incredibly valuable to anyone who is attempting to be at their best when their best is needed. Make sure you focus your entire energy on the task that is in front of you. Allow nothing else to be a distraction to performing that task at the best of your ability!
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See You On The Court,
Coach Jim Huber "Inspiring Athletes"