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How Athletes Lose Composure

From my experience, many athletes spend too much energy worrying about things that they cannot control on the athletic field, court, or course. They waste energy on irrelevant thoughts.

Have you ever become distracted because you were arguing with an official about a bad call? Even when you knew the official was not going to change his call, you gave energy to an *uncontrollable.*

The result: You became upset or frustrated, lost your composure, and it affected you for several minutes to follow or even until the end of the game.

If you focus on thoughts or events that are outside of your immediate control, you are distracted at the very least.

Athletes also get sidetracked easily when feeling intimidated by the opposition. They focus too much on an opponent's record or abilities. This can cause them to doubt or become anxious.

You can classify all result-oriented thinking about outcomes into things that are beyond your direct control (in the present moment).

Athletes who focus too much on results or what others think, instead of the process, are likely to become anxious, scared, worried, and perform tentatively at best.

If you want maximum composure, you must learn to train yourself to focus only on what is in your direct control in sports. You can divide the competitive arena into two areas:

1. Things you can control: your thoughts, behaviors, performance, and reactions in both practice and competition.

2. Things beyond your control: events or persons that you cannot influence during competition and which cause you to be distracted from your real mission.

Your goal is to separate these two areas in your mind and focus only on what you can control during performance. You should ask yourself, "What do I need to focus on that will help me perform my best? "

The other important question to ask yourself is, "Where should I direct my energy during my performance? "

Your answer to these two questions will help you improve your composure in sports. You will not get as anxious or frustrated by giving energy to things that are beyond your control.


Want to learn simple, proven mental toughness skills that you can apply to competition? Grab my free online mental training newsletter, Sports Insights Magazine - for athletes, coachesComputer Technology Articles, and sports parents:

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Dr. Patrick Cohn is a master mental game coach who work with professional and amateur athletes, sports parents, and teams of all levels. Visit for more information.

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