The definition of underdog is a team or individual that has a small chance of winning a competition.
Here are a few examples when you may be considered the underdog:
- Playing against an undefeated team this season
- Competing against a higher ranked or seeded opponent
- Playing against a team that you have never beaten
- Competing against a physically stronger or faster opponents
An athletes’ or team’s mindset determines the chances to pull out a win or successful outcome when over matched. So you want to work on the right mindset that will help you play to your or your team’s ability.
First, overcome the label of ‘underdog’ for a moment…
How would you feel if you were told by your friends that “you probably won’t win today?” What would you think if your teammates said “we are going to get crushed this game?” How much effort or focus would you apply if you said to yourself, I have no chance to win today?” If you believe you have zero chance of success, you’ll probably go through the motions and not give 100 percent effort. When you have this defeatist mindset, you have little chance of succeeding.
Now flip the script…
How would you feel if you were considered the next possible Cinderella story? What would you think if you saw the competition as an opportunity to demonstrate your skills and pull off the upset? How would it affect your effort if your teammates were excited to be the team to dethrone the reigning champions?
This underdog mindset would fuel your effort and focus. After all, you have a chance of succeeding. The underdog mindset relies on the fact that you have trained at a high level. In other words, you must be physically and mentally prepared to your fullest for the competition. The underdog mindset requires that you trust your training and believe in your ability to perform to your capabilities.
The “underdog mindset” doesn’t guarantee victory, but success is not always about the final outcome. The underdog mindset requires that you keep your focus on your strengths, embracing the challenge, and looking to grow.