The Mental Game: How to keep fighting after a poor start in competition

The Mental Game: How to keep fighting after a poor start in competition

Mental Edge Performance

The Mental Game: How to keep fighting after a poor start in competition

MentalEdgePerformance.ca is founded by Shayne McGowan, based on the concept of creating a superior standard of training for athletes on and off the field. McGowan is a certified mental game coaching professional. He has studied a Cal State university and has played football in college and briefly in the pros. He is a member of Coaches of Canada and NCCP certified, has 30 years fitness background as a trainer. He has done interviews on Fox Sports Radio, CBS Sports Radio, NFL Spin Zone, NFL Showtime, BlogTalkRadio and writes for Train fitness magazine.

Every athlete at some point feels they don’t have “it” during a competition.

You know the feeling, from the onset of a game or meet, you have difficulty getting psyched to compete. You start off slow or with mistakes and can’t seem to get into the flow of the game.

You feel your game is off and you are not exactly sure why. Think of a time when you just didn’t have “it.” You probably realized quickly from the onset of the competition that your game was off.

How did you respond? Did your mind run wild with negativity? Did you become angry or frustrated? Did you conclude, “This is not my day,” and resign yourself to just a bad day?

Many athletes who conclude, “I don’t have it,” take the ‘I’ out of ‘fight’ and mentally give up. The thought process is, “Since I don’t have it, there is nothing I can do about it, so why even try.”

When you start to think this way during competition, your self-fulfilling prophecy will turn into a poor performance. Not all athletes respond in this negative manner.

Mentally tough athletes keep fighting even though they know that their performance will not be one of their top performances.

Being “off your game” does not cause mentally tough athletes to stop fighting. On the contrary, when mentally tough athletes feel they don’t have it, they fight harder, dig deeper and compete tougher.

There will always be ups and downs throughout a competition. If you can’t fight through the rough patches, you’ll be knocked out of the game at the first sign of adversity. So when you don’t have it physically, that is the precise time when you need to pick it up mentally.

Keeping the fight alive is your most valuable weapon when things aren’t clicking.

The ability to grind out your game for the rest of the competition is a sign that you can get the job done without your A-game. Look for ways to change the momentum to get back into the competition. Maybe a good break, a positive call from an official, or a good play can turn it around for you.

Embrace the fact that you will struggle at times and be prepared mentally to grind it out—then you will always have a fighting chance.

Start by learning how to keep your confidence tank high!

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