So You Had a Bad Game
Bad performances happen. However, it is not the bad performance that defines the athlete, it is what they do after a bad performance.
So, what happens when an athlete has a bad performance?
Confidence often decreases a bit
Fear sets in
Over thinking occurs
When the above things happen, an athlete is setting themselves up for an uphill battle. Attention shifts from the process of their performance to factors that inhibit optimal performance. Although it is natural for confidence to be impacted by a poor performance, an athlete should try to get to a point where their confidence is a more stable attribute, less impacted by occasional bad days. Belief that he/she is a good player will prevent the athlete from falling into a slump.
Fear and over thinking combined with low confidence will have a profound effect of an athlete's performance. As stated above, he/she begins to shift their focus from the muscle memory they have developed, and begin to nitpick every decision they make on the field. Fear and concern about performance pulls him/her from the present focused mindset necessary for optimal performance.
The more an athlete thinks about their performance, the more trouble they are going to experience! So what should he/she do to get their performance back up to the level they expect from themselves?
Trust his/her abilities and muscle memory. Take deep breaths and let his/her body take control
Stop focusing on the fact that he/she have been having bad games- the more an athlete thinks about being in a slump, the longer that slump is going to last.
Stop demanding perfection. Mistakes are going to occur- it is about learning from them and growing as an athlete as opposed to having flawless performances every game. You learn more from your failures than your successes!
View each game as a clean slate- a new opportunity for growth. The only way a past game effects the next game is if an athlete is if he/she allows it to.
Take a deep breath and move on- learn and grow with each practice and game. Do not spend time focusing on the past that cannot be changed. Do not fear the future; focus on the present moment!