How does competition effect you?

 In Coaches, Professional & Olympic Athletes, Tennis

difficult matchI want to talk a bit about how people are affected by competition and the elements/distractions/difficult moments of competition that sometimes come with it.

Here a few examples:

1. Men’s ITU World Championship in Hamburg. I want to focus on Frodeno. Toward the end of the bike, it appeared as though Frodeno got slightly hit by another player. He had to pull over because he had a tire problem. He probably lost 45 seconds; which in a championship race is a lot. At that moment the commentator was commenting that it’s too bad, Frodeno’s had a bad year and we’ll see if he even goes out on the run.

It’s true that the timing of London with this race wasn’t ideal so if an athlete wasn’t ‘winning’ and decided to drop out, then to a certain degree it would make sense. But on an ordinary day, what kind of message does this send? How would you handle this?

The part about this story I love is that Frodeno did not drop out and he finished the race and finished strong.

2. Women’s WTA final in Washington DC with Paszek (& Peer). Paszek had just won a difficult point during a tie break in the second set until the chair umpire deemed the ball burst and the point was changed to a let. How would you handle this? I could tell that Paszek was distracted by the call and went on to lose the tie break. Fortunately she did win the third set and won the match but how can you let go of what’s happened, let go of distractions and concentrate in the moment?

I’ve watched so many tennis matches where a player has lost all control after a bad call to lose the match. It doesn’t have to be that way. If a tennis player loses because she/he doesn’t have the skill that makes sense but pro’s are pro’s for a reason. Yes they may hit a bad shot here and there, they may have a bad day but the different in the game is mental.

3. Beisel swam the 400 medley at Stanford. She was behind during the fly and the backstroke but in her (supposed) weakest leg of the race, the breaststroke, she pulled away from the pack, swam a strong freestyle to win the gold.

There are so many ways to deal with competition. These are three different examples. How do you deal with the competition and all that comes with it? Do you keep going even though you aren’t going to win? Do you get rattled and find your way back? Or do you go beyond what anyone thought you could do?

If you want to get better at playing like you practice or competition in general please take advantage of my free download: Beating the Competition Demons.

Dr. Michelle

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Dr. Michelle Cleere
In her own private practice as an elite performance expert, Dr. Michelle Cleere helps top athletes, musicians, and executives in competitive fields unlock the power of the mind and create the mental toughness to be the best. Dr. Michelle’s extensive academic background, which includes a PhD in Clinical Psychology and a Masters in Sports Psychology, allows her to help clients deal with performance anxiety, gain more confidence, and build resilience. In addition to personal coaching, Dr. Michelle takes on many roles – a best-selling author, athlete, and teacher. Dr. Michelle’s bestseller line, Beating the Demons, helps clients develop practical skills to gain more control over competitive environments and mitigate the interruption in play to overcome intense odds and defeat adversity. As a 15-year USAT Coach, she developed simple and effective tools to mentally train her athletes, and they are used by coaches around the world. She is a professor at John F. Kennedy University where she teacher her students to use the mind as an ally to improve performance.
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