As an athlete, there are many thoughts going through your mind, and they aren’t always positive. These voices can come from expectations, pressure, anxiety, fears, frustration, and defeat. You cannot let these voices keep you down. Here are 4 ways to get out of your own head:
- Focus on the next move: Whatever sport you play, there are always new opportunities to succeed. Remember this overwhelming feeling does not last forever, and focus on making the next move better.
- Tell yourself the game is not over: There is always time to come back from a loss – in the game or in life. Athletes do it everyday. As long as you are positive and playing your game, you can always come back.
- Think positive thoughts: Do not let the negative control you. Anger will make things worse. Focus on the positive and what you are doing right. This can be hard sometimes but training your brain to be positive will help you cope with the frustration. Positive thinking will also help clear your head and plan your next move.
- Think about how you are influencing your teammates: In the heat of the moment, athletes tend to do impulsive things. Whether it’s showing emotion, vocalizing thoughts, or getting visibly annoyed, this can come off wrong. When in these moments, think about the people around you and how you want to come off to them. You do not want to give your opponent an advantage and you do not want to let your team down.
- Redirect your thinking: Sometimes the thoughts running through your head aren’t true. You might convince yourself you’re not good enough, you won’t hit this free throw, you can’t block that goal. Ask yourself why you’re thinking these things, then correct them based on what you know, not what you’re feeling in the moment.
- Remind yourself that you play the game for you: Everyone else will set expectations for you: your coach, teammates, friends, professors, family members. You can’t make everybody happy. Remember, you play this game because you love it, not because somebody else wants you to play. By reminding yourself why you play the game, it will be a lot easier to forget all of these expectations and play your best game.
* Originally published on October 22, 2021, by Sydney DeNardo