Mental Edge: How to cope with mistakes like a pro

Photo: Joe Rondone/The Commercial Appeal

Every athlete makes mistakes …  It’s part of sports.

Think of how many times a veteran baseball player got caught taking a fastball right over the plate with the bases loaded, or got picked off at first base, or an NFL quarterback threw an interception, or loses the ball at the snap? Or how many times an NBA player threw a ball in the stands on an easy pass, missed a dunk or stepped out of bounds accidentally?

Every baseball player has committed an error … Every basketball player has turned the ball over. Every quarterback has thrown an interception. You are not alone in making mistakes … and just because you make a mistake doesn’t mean you cannot be successful in another part of your game.

The thing that separates top athletes from the rest of the pack is that top athletes don’t allow mistakes to take them out of the game mentally. Top athletes are able to rebound quickly when competing. Top athletes don’t relive their mistakes over and over. Top athletes don’t verbally berate themselves with negative thoughts. Top athletes don’t focus on what has been done, but what they can do now. Developing a refocusing cue can be as simple as a phrase, such as,

-It’s in the past,

-Let it go.

-Focus on the next play.

-No one’s perfect. Move on.

-Only the next play matters.

With a refocusing statement in place, you will be more prepared to move past mistakes in competition.

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