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How To Reset After a Mistake If You’re An Athlete

I have several soccer players I work with & often get asked:

How do I let go of mistakes quicker or how can I reset after a mistake or poor performance faster? 

Whether it’s a missed shot, a bad pass, or a defensive error, mistakes will happen & of course you’ll be frustrated & probably embarrassed – NORMAL. You’re allowed to be!

BUT – think about how long you stay distracted for? 

How athletes respond to these mistakes typically determines the next opportunity. What are you missing out on next because you’re still pissed about the last play? The most important thought you’ll have in an entire performance is: what you think right after a mistake.

Here’s why: that thought predicts your next play! This is usually what causes athletes to spiral out of control because they don’t LEARN HOW TO MOVE ON & reset quicker after a mistake.

After a mistake, do you end up playing cautiously, conservatively, fear messing up so then you take less risks, or can you move on & focus on the next play, next skill, next opportunity?

Here a few tools that I teach to athletes wanting to learn how to recover quicker:
  • Accountability Questions
  • Rhythmic Breathing
  • Centering
  • Using Yet
  • Creating a physical Mistake Routine
  • Developing a Response Plan (to avoid reacting)
  • Focus on ability not feeling
  • Escape Room
  • Grounding
  • Having a List of Allowed Thoughts
  • Why me to what now
  • This is tough, but I can handle it
  • Why to bust out a fake smile
  • Creating a Set # of Mess Ups
  • Designing their RESET
  • Reframing
  • Building Power Phrases
  • Muscle tension release

If you’ve worked with me before or purchased one of my courses, you’ll recognize those tools!

I can’t go into all of those in one post, but I teach a TON of options to bounce back faster! That’s just a short list to remind you what you can use to shake the frustration faster. Save the list so you can have a quick cheat sheet to reference.

If you have no idea what any of those tools are, you’re going to want to grab one of our programs, schedule a session, attend camp, or get in on our hybrid group coaching where you can have access to all the goodness. I WISH I had this stuff when I was younger & competing at a high level. Eventually, I got burned out & quit because I didn’t know how to manage the fears & worry what everyone else thought all the time!

Here are some starting points on how to let go of mistakes or bad performances faster, even without the tools above: 

 
3 keys to be aware of to RESET are:
  • How long you hold onto a bad play
  • How many people you tell (how long you talk about it & replay it)
  • What you say to yourself afterwards

It all gets imprinted. The brain doesn’t get that you’re “just venting” it stores it like “that’s who you are” & all you’re capable of.

But that’s not accurate! It’s a mistake you made. You’re an accumulation of your whole career!

You’d never send a recruiter one play or two plays of what you’re capable of – that’s why we create highlight reels. Give yourself grace, you’re always gaining experience.

Coaches want to see how you handle adversity. We often get so upset because we don’t want others to think that’s who we are & we want them to see we aren’t satisfied with that, but everyone already knows that! We make up these stories of what we think everyone thinks of us.

After a mistake or poor performance, I ask athletes to ask themselves: Are you evaluating or overanalyzing? Most of the time they are overanalyzing the crap out of what they just did.

Evaluation is reviewing what happened & asking how can I adjust & then CHOOSING not to replay it anymore.

Here’s the deal – take the feedback from the mistake – what can I do differently next time, what did I learn from that?

BUT STOP INTERPRETING IT – which means, you want to avoid thinking: why did I do that, what was I thinking, I’m an idiot, what if I get pulled.

The moment is done, interpreting what the mistakes means will NEVER serve you.

Just take the feedback to build resilience, overcome future challenges, showcase you can shake it, you can adapt, you’re capable of receiving a correction – which actually makes you coachable & highly sought after.

It’s not IF you mess up – it’s WHEN.

Demonstrating you aren’t going to have a mental meltdown & can recover (even if you’re boiling on the inside) is a massive trait that most don’t do – you just made yourself more marketable! It shows you can problem solve!

This is developing mental game. Mental training is all about learning how to problem solve differently!

Acknowledging a mistake shows integrity & willingness to take ownership, & actually allows you to make less mistakes because the brain doesn’t fear messing up all the time. Mind blown?

It’s proven you mess up less when you decide messing up is part of the game & you aren’t doing everything in your power to avoid it – that tells your brain it’s bad. When competing, be open to some plays not going your way, your brain can relax your body & stop anticipating it constantly.

Look at mistakes as an opportunity rather than a reflection of your talent. It’s a challenge to overcome. Your brain likes challenges & overcoming obstacles! You get a dopamine hit when you accomplish something hard!

Redirecting attention after a mistake is a skill that athletes can develop through practice. Repetition = retention!

We are capable of developing new habits & rewiring what we fear every single day.

It’s called Neuroplasticity. Yes, you can change what you believe about yourslef & how you perform based on what you repeat or hold onto. We believe whatever we repeatedly say!

You just have to learn how, because unfortunately, most of us learn how to play the game technically sound but not how to handle stress or pressure the game brings the better you get.

By using these tangible tools, athletes can improve their mental toughness leading to better adaptability later in life too! We deep dive how to do this in sessions & our programs!

Drop me an email & let me know if you want added to my newsletter – I send out mental game tips every other week, typically explaining a strategy in more detail & then those people are the first to hear when programs, camps, & workshops drop, before they sell out.

Check out our ON DEMAND programs & our GROUP COACHING for easy to digest tools to overcome adversity & have more fun competing again!

The better you are, the more stress you’ll have to perform your best & the more pressure you’ll place on yourself, STOP GUESSING what works & gain the strategies to let go of frustration faster!

Read more about a few of the programs we offer here

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