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The Payoff of Perseverance

It is my personal favorite time of the year - College football bowl games! It is a chance to see how teams match up against out of conference teams... an opportunity to see how your team truly matches up. But what happens when your team is down by 20 heading into the 4th quarter?

As fans, we feel defeated, perhaps even angry that the players on the field aren't performing up to our expectations. If this is how we as fans feel, imagine what is going on with those athletes on the field. There comes a point where as the athlete you either give into the feelings of defeat and frustration, or you persevere and play to win.

Michigan State had a 1.5% chance of winning their game against Baylor as they entered the 4th down by a margin of 20 points, but instead of giving up, they were able to find it within themselves to find a way to beat all odds and win by 1 point with a last minute field goal with 17 seconds on the clock. So what is it that causes a player to find the will to fight when they are down? Let's look at the psychology behind the football game:

  1. Focus - An athlete who is able to maintain his/her focus in the present moment- the ability to focus on what he/she need to do in order to be successful on each and every play is one who will be able to avoid the feelings of defeat that will prevent them from obtaining his/her goals. Focus on the Performance, not the Outcome!

  2. Keep Pushing - Athletes who find a way to win, are able to dig deep within themselves when they are tired in order to give that second effort. This second effort can be the difference in winning or losing- it could be that block of a field goal that puts your team in the position to win the game.

  3. Playing to Win - Athletes who play to win are determined and willing to take chances on big plays in order to shift momentum. They go for the block. They play confidently and expect a successful outcome.

  4. They Find a Way to get it Done! - Athletes who find a way to push through, do whatever it takes in order to get the W. They have committed to success and are willing to do the above to make sure they persevere.

While some athletes may have an innate ability to find a way to be successful, others may need to work on the skills necessary to persevere. It is a set of skills that can be taught and learned; when you look at yourself as an athlete, can you say that you persevere?

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