Maintaining Your Level of Performance
What is your mindset after your team is down late in a football game? Do you fear losing? Or do you have a mentally tough mindset throughout a game?
Your answer to these questions is an indication of your mindset…
When you have a mindset based on fear, you will give up more quickly when the odds are not in your favor. When you have a mindset based on the fear of losing or making mistakes, your body will be in the game, but your mind will have checked out.
You will concede a loss mid-game or even before the start of a game when faced with adversity.
The following are a couple of examples of resignation:
1. As your team battles for a playoff spot, the starting quarterback suffers an ankle injury. You think, “We cannot win without our starting quarterback injured. He was our only chance, and now he is out for the next two games.” This mindset will have you focused on the fear of losing, and you will not be mentally prepared to step up your game.
2. You are a placekicker, and your team is playing against an undefeated opponent. You ar2. You are a placekicker, and your team is playing against an undefeated opponent. You are down one point late in the fourth quarter. You have already missed two extra points, and the coach sends you out onto the field to attempt a 45-yard field goal. You have never made a field goal over 40 yards, and you can’t shake your doubts, “I can’t make this; it’s too far away. Everyone is going to be disappointed in me.” This mindset will create muscle tension interfering with your mechanics.
In these scenarios, a negative mindset is telling you that you have no chance. When you feel you have no chance, focusing or making game-changing plays are practically impossible.
All teams face adversity throughout the game, such as turnovers, dropped passes, missed tackles, costly penalties, injuries, bad officiating, etc. The team that wins is often the team that has mental toughness and can battle until the last play of the game.
The following is an example of mental toughness when faced with adversity from the NFL. In the sixth game of the 2021 NFL season, Quarterback Dak Prescott led the Dallas Cowboys in overtime to beat the New England Patriots 35-29.
Despite turnovers, penalties, late-game defensive mistakes, and a missed field goal, the Cowboys stayed true to their “never quit” mentality. Prescott credited the team’s “never quit” mentality for the victory.
PRESCOTT: “Yeah, I think today just showed our resiliency time and time again – just to have the chance to tie the game, to have the chance to win the game, and we were able to do that. I think it just speaks to the resiliency of this bunch and this team and the bond we’ve created.”
In essence, Prescott is saying, “As long as we have a chance, we are going to keep fighting.”
Remember, you only have a chance if you are willing to battle until the final whistle.
Having a “Mentally Tough” Mindset in Football:
No matter what happens in the game, you have to grind it out till the end. That means never giving in to losing when the game is close.
You never know what can happen in the last two minutes or regulation–so battle until the final play.
Related Sports Psychology Articles
- Harrison Butker Avoids Perfectionism in Football
- Compete in Practice to Compete Better
- How Football Players Get Confidence
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