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Succeed as an Athlete Despite Adversity| Sports Psychology Tips


Have you ever thought about the damaging power behind the phrase ‘to make matters worse’?

The phrase “to make matters worse” further catastrophizes an adverse event.

Many sports announcers use the phrase to describe an athlete’s or team’s worsening prospects or condition throughout a season.

Many athletes are stuck in the habit of catastrophizing. They often highlight every bad break, unlucky event, and poor showing as a pre-established excuse for a future loss.

For example, “Our team has been battling nagging injuries all year, and one of our best players is out. The last two games we played were our worst games of the year. To make matters worse, we have to play against the top team in the league to advance to the playoffs.”

When you build a case against yourself, you actually do “make matters worse.”

Not only does catastrophizing hurt your confidence, it keeps you focused on the problem.

To break out of the catastrophizing mode, you need to focus on solutions. It is important to remember that while you may not be able to change your current circumstances, you do have control over your reactions and actions.

When adversity strikes, focus on your game plan, preparation, and approach for the next competition.

This solution-based focus is empowering. A “focus on solutions” mindset gives you a sense of control and confidence to move forward and compete to the best of your abilities.

The Philadelphia Eagles started the 2023-24 season with a 10-1 record and appeared to be one of the NFL’s best teams.

Over the final month and a half, the Eagles proceeded to fall apart and ended their regular season by losing five of their last six games.

The Eagles finished the season with a record of 11-6. Instead of winning the NFC East crown, the Eagles had to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in a Wild Card playoff game on the road.

Instead of focusing on the team’s struggles and injuries, Eagles defensive lineman Fletcher Cox chose to remain optimistic and focus on solutions.

When asked about the team’s declining performance, Cox said he is focused on “what’s next” rather than “what has happened in the past.”

COX: “We get to go out and play again next week. You’re speaking on our last six weeks, and I’m speaking on the weekend we have coming up ahead of us. I want to think positive and not negative. It’s a whole brand new season for everybody; no matter what went on in the past, no matter what went on.”

What happened last week doesn’t matter; even what happened yesterday is past. The most important thing you can do is to work towards success TODAY.

Instead of tallying up the negatives against you, look for evidence that supports your success, such as, “No one can outwork me. I can gain a significant edge with my mental game. I think quick on my feet.”

When you look for evidence that supports your chances of success, you will prepare and compete with more confidence.

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The Focused Athlete

Focused Athlete

“The Focused Athlete” audio and workbook program helps you or your athletes overcome distractions and sharpen your concentration during competition. You learn how to get locked in during practice and competition so you can improve and perform better.

“First, I would like to thank you for the help given to me through your programs, ‘The Confident Athlete’ and ‘The Focused Athlete.’ I have made tremendous sacrifices though all these years to become a top Olympic Trap shooter but something was missing. This missing part was with my mental game. My scores increased tremendously in record time and others said that I was a different shooter.“

~Marios Kapodistria


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