I am going to base this post on the work of one of my favourite sports psychology authors, Jim Loeher and the words in his book “The New Toughness Training for Sports” (Penguin ISBN 0-525-93839-7). I try to read as much as I can in this subject area and this publication is right at the top for me and has been for quite some time. If you have had one of my presentations inflicted upon you, you have probably seen me hold up my dog-eared copy. Jim is one of the very few authors to have placed the largely theoretical world of sports psychology into reality, providing actual activities one can do to improve in this area. It’s a must read for any teams with whom I work. OK, let’s examine, why teams lose. To illustrate the reasons, I’ve chosen to use the curling rings, the “house”.
OK, I’ve kept you in suspense long enough. What’s “on the button”?
To be truly competitive and to perform well, you must feel CHALLENGED! It’s that “I-can’t-wait-to-play” attitude that all elite athletes have. It’s not cockiness, it’s not defiance, it’s not overbearing but it is calmness. It is trust in your skill set and that of your teammates. It is tunnel vision. It is “the zone”. You can be challenged without being successful on the scoreboard. But it is not trying to do your best. That’s an outcome that results frequently in choking. It’s the knowledge that if you don’t succeed on the scoreboard, your opponent had to bring his/her “A” game to the ice to win. It took everything they had. They were forced to drain their tank.
When you lose, make sure it was for the right reason(s) and of course, don’t lose the lesson!