Focusing on the Things you can Control
I’m sure you or your athletes have played in a lousy arena or under unfavorable weather or field conditions?
Bad field conditions, beat-up equipment, extraordinarily early or late start times, or inclement weather can hurt an athlete’s confidence hours or even days before a competition.
For example, when you have an unusually early start time, you might be angry that you have to wake up early and compete, “Why would the event be scheduled this early in the morning. I will have no time to warm up, and I never perform well in the morning. It’s unfair.”
When you believe your circumstances are unfair, your negative thoughts will interfere with preparing mentally and physically for the game. Your emotions might kick in and worry will ensue.
When you are distracted by your circumstances, your performance will be riddled with mistakes and poor decision-making. Complaining or worrying will NOT change your circumstances because those circumstances are uncontrollable.
In other words, no matter how much you don’t like competing early in the morning, you have no control over the start.
What’s Under Your Control?
Any circumstance outside of your control is a distraction. The more you focus on distractions, the bigger and more imposing those distractions become.
Instead of focusing on what you cannot control, you want to focus on what’s under your control (the controllables).
The National Women’s Soccer League announced that the 2021 WSL championship game is scheduled for November 20th at Portland’s Providence Park, a turf field, with a start time of 9 am.
Many players expressed their displeasure with the venue and the unusually early start time.
Orlando Pride and U.S. women’s national team defender Ali Krieger was public with her disapproval regarding the circumstances of the championship game.
KRIEGER: “Adding two new franchises next season with beautiful grass stadiums all around the country — moving in a great direction and then we choose turf to play the [championship] final of the best league in the world?… [And in regard to the early start time] we don’t even train at 9:00 am.”
Even though your complaints may be valid, you will have no control over playing conditions most of the time. Focusing on circumstances that you cannot change hurt performance by causing thought distractions and affecting your emotions before and during your play.
You want to have a mindset that embraces the challenge of any conditions instead of being upset you have to play under poor conditions.
Dealing with Poor Conditions
Poor field or weather conditions can give you a mental edge over your competition–if you can embrace the challenge…
Since your competitors also have to compete under the same conditions in competition, athletes who can have a positive attitude about the circumstances will have the mental edge.
Think of it this way; complaining about your circumstances will not help you perform your best. But if you mentally prepare and are ready to cope with those challenge, you’ll have the mental edge over your competition.
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