Adversity is part of sports. Challenges are going to occur during the course of a game—it how your athlete handles them that can can make difference between winning and losing. More importantly, if athletes can learn to overcome adversity on the field, they learn lessons that will help them achieve success in all facets of life.
An article on goplaybetter.com provides five simple strategies for overcoming sports adversity:
1. Focus one play or one game at time: "Taking the focus away from the big picture and allowing your team to spend its time worrying about nothing more than the next game [or play] is extremely beneficial to their psyche, especially during moments of adversity," the article states.
2. Think Positively: "Our mental tape recording has a nasty habit of playing messages that do not help us in any possible way, and these messages tend to crop up most during moments when we are faced with adverse circumstances," the author writes. The article suggests that the player "switch out the tape" and insert one that plays positive thoughts and messages over and over again.
3. Create a Helping Environment: "While a starter may not want to help a backup sharpen their game, it is crucial for a team to create a culture where everyone helps one another," the article says. This reinforces the concept of "Next Man Up." Also, with this culture, the reserve players are fully engaged in what's going on and will lend a great of moral support to starters when things are not going well.
4. Focus on Past Achievements: This goes a little against the first point. However, it's important for an athlete to reflect on success in a similar circumstance when a challenges arises. "When an athlete’s back is up against the wall and it is time to come out swinging, the best way to bolster self-confidence is to take a moment and remember your past achievements," the article says. "Doing so will erase the self-doubt that is keeping them from success."
5. Celebrate the Minor Victories: The article states, "Sports glory is not always about the destination, it is about the journey and taking the time to celebrate the smaller victories will only make your arrival at the destination all the more sweet."
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