How Over Generalizations Keep Athletes Stuck
It’s very easy for athletes to dwell on the past and carry it into the present, especially if their performance was not ideal.
When athletes dwell on past performances, they tend to feel less confident. They also worry that the same mistakes will repeat themselves.
When you are focused on the past, your ability to focus in the moment becomes split between what you are doing now and what just happened.
When you don’t have 100% focus in the present moment, you hurt you ability to perform at your peak.
And for many athletes, they tend to think that the past will repeat itself, which I call an over generalization…
If a baseball player strikes out with the bases loaded, does that mean that player will strike out every time he steps to the plate with three runners on base?
When a gymnast misses the landing on the beam, does that guarantee that every future landing will be messed up?
If a golfer leaves a five-foot putt inches short of the cup, will that golfer forever miss every short-range putt?
These over generalizations in your thinking will keep you stuck in a rut.
How do you focus in the moment?
- You need to expose these thoughts for what they truly are… falsehoods. The past has little impact over your present performance.
- You must realize every competition is a new challenge. You can learn from the past but this current competition is the only one that matters.
- You need to develop the mental skill needed to let go of the past and focus your attention and energies in the present moment.
Basketball star LeBron James believes the Cleveland Cavaliers are ready to defend their NBA title as the postseason, or new season, commences.
The Cavaliers have gone through tough times during the regular season: key injuries, lack of cohesive play, negativity as well as a four-game losing streak to close out the regular season.
James has preached to his team about the power of focusing on the task at hand and insists that his mind is solely focused on the challenge of the here and now, the Indiana Pacers.
JAMES: “I’m not going to harp on about what happened in the regular season through injuries, through good wins, through bad losses… At the end of the day I can’t have my mind focused on the past right now. The present is the only thing that matters.”
If your head is stuck in the past, you are hurting your ability to be successful on the court, field, track or gym.
Try This for Focusing in the Present
- Focus on the bull’s eye: The bull’s eye is your role in the game. Define what’s the most important performance cues for your position or role.
- Stop judging and assessing your past performance or mistakes. Quickly recognize you are thinking about the past, and refocus on the current play, run, or shot.
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If you’re a top performer during practice but find yourself under-performing in competition, the most likely culprit holding you back is your mental game.
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