The Mental Game: Why playing safe doesn’t help you win

The Mental Game: Why playing safe doesn’t help you win

Mental Edge Performance

The Mental Game: Why playing safe doesn’t help you win

By 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 at 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.

Playing safe rarely works out for athletes. Yet many athletes adopt a cautious mindset when leading late in a competition.

For example, a football team has dominated the opposing team for three-plus quarters and has a 14-point lead with four minutes remaining.

Instead of sticking to their offensive game plan, they start playing conservative. Instead of playing 60 minutes of aggressive style defense, they play cautiously allowing the opposing team to tie the game.

Trying to avoid mistakes is a trap that many athletes fall into. Fear creates anxiety, fills your head with worry and self-doubts, and often leads to making mistakes you are seeking to avoid.

Playing it safe opens the door for other competitors to erase the lead you built up. In fact, your opponents can sense that you are playing it safe and it gives them confidence to charge forward. Your opponents gain momentum. If you built a lead by “going for it” or playing aggressively, why would you change this mindset later in the competition? Keep doing what works.

The lesson is to maintain the same style of play that helped you get a lead. Now that is not to say that you should play with recklessness, or undisciplined. You have to be smart and aggressive.

The key is to not focus on the victory and continue to play the game one play at a time.


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