Why is a match point different from other points?
Because the stakes are higher.
A match point offers us immediate feedback on the quality of our performance. Time slows down or accelerates, you become much more aware of your thoughts, emotions and what is happening in your environment. A mistake is multiplied by ten, and every moment, every action, every decision counts.
The factor that causes 90% of mistakes at critical moments
Most of the time, mistakes are caused by a lack of concentration.
Your brain has the extraordinary ability to travel back through time. It can direct its attention to the past, present, or future.
Travelling back to the past is useful to learn lessons that are relevant to our progress and evolution.
Travelling into the future is useful in creating our vision, setting our goals and intentions, and developing strategies to achieve them.
In an ideal world, these trips take place during times specifically dedicated to reflection and analysis. When it’s time to perform on the field, it’s much more effective to stay in the present moment, since all the information we need to act and make appropriate decisions is there: our feelings and emotions, and as the visual, auditory and sensory information provided by our environment. The present moment is also the “time zone” over which we have control. We cannot change the past, and the only way to act on our future is to be fully involved, to act and to make decisions in the present moment.
However, in sport, we have become so skilled at time travel that we do it at any time, sometimes unconsciously and very often in an uncontrolled way..
Some athletes travel more naturally to the past and others to the future. What about you? Do you tend to mentally review your mistakes over and over again without being able to let go? Do you tend to imagine the catastrophic consequences of a defeat or to dream of a medal during your performance?
3 attitudes to adopt to reduce your stress in competition
In important moments, such as a match point, your stress is caused by doubt and fear of not being able to meet expectations, whether yours or those of others.
“I must not be the one who will drop the disc.”
“I cannot let my teammates down!”
“I have to get the D, that’s why I was called on the field.”
“I am a captain; I have to lead my team to victory.”
What do you think is causing this pressure on your shoulders?
The judgments you make about your actions and their results.
When you become frustrated because of a mistake, it is because you think that making a mistake is a negative thing. You stated an expectation, that of not making mistakes. Then, following your mistake, you made a judgment: it’s bad. (click here to read my article about judgment)
But if you never made a mistake, you could not witness your progress. It would be impossible for you to set goals and objectives and, above all, to savor the pleasure of achieving them. You could not feel the sense of accomplishment associated with your success.
Sport is a continuous journey towards discovery and surpassing oneself.
Competition is a means, not an end.Read More
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