It’s no secret that to perform at our best, we must have a strong and healthy mindset. However, athletes often make mental mistakes before playing sports that can negatively impact their performance. Learn how to avoid those common mistakes below.
One of the most common mental mistakes athletes make before playing sports is not having enough self-confidence. Performing at your best will be tough when you don’t believe in your abilities. Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, try focusing on what you are good at and the accomplishments you’ve made thus far. Acknowledge your strengths and use them to fuel your confidence.
Having a lack of confidence comes from overthinking. It’s easy for your mind to wander before a game or competition. However, those thoughts can be more of a deterrent than an aid to your performance.
You may doubt yourself or second-guess your abilities when you overthink, leading to mistakes on the field or court. Instead, try to clear your mind and focus on the task. Visualize yourself performing well and focus on the positive outcomes that you can expect from your stellar play.
Comparing Yourself to Others
Focusing too much on what others are doing can take away from your abilities and distract you from your goals. As much as you’d like to model your game after the best of the best, you should understand that the most premier players are a special breed that you cannot replicate.
Instead, focus on your journey and what you can do to improve. Everyone has unique skills and abilities, and it’s important to recognize and appreciate what you bring to the table.
Fear of Failure
Fear of failure is another mental mistake that can discourage athletes from accomplishing great things. It’s not a good feeling to lose, especially if the team loses in spectacularly embarrassing fashion. Because of this relatable fear, many of us fail to try things that may interest us.
You serve yourself best by giving your interests the good ‘ole college try and accepting your failures as a learning experience. Turning your failures into a positive experience and something you can build upon can give you the fire in your belly you need to reach your maximum potential.
Michael Jordan missed shots, Tiger Woods duffed putts, and Barry Bonds struck out. The most successful athletes in their sports had a few hiccups in their careers, don’t let your hiccups deter you from also succeeding. The most elite athletes are often the ones who have overcome failure and persevered through tough times.
Lack of Preparation
Finally, many athletes make the mistake of not properly preparing themselves mentally before a game or competition. Developing a routine or ritual that can help you get in the right mindset and feel confident before the game is important. This routine might include doing a few exercises before your pickleball tournament, listening to music that pumps you up before hooping, or simply relaxing to center yourself. The key is to find what works for you and stick to it. And while you’re exercising and visualizing your pickleball success, remember these must-have accessories to ensure you’re fully prepared. Falling into the trap of making these mental mistakes athletes make before playing sports can significantly impact your athletic performance. However, you can elevate your mental game and achieve great success by recognizing these mistakes and actively working to avoid them.