To Go Big You Must First Go Small

Golf Sports Psychologist

Champion athletes understand that in order to perform to their full potential they must stay focused on the right objective. However, when the pressure becomes greater, the mind naturally wants to go elsewhere. Thoughts of potential mistakes, disappointments, and other forms of worry start compiling in the athlete's mind depleting the athlete's focus from the present task.

Below is one tip I strongly recommend athletes practice. This tip will help restructure your thought patterns into successful performances under pressure.

Focus on Probability, not possibility. Athletes who struggle with nerves and confidence spend far too much time focusing on the possibility of failure. They may have thoughts such as, "The way I am playing, college coaches won't even notice me the day of the showcase." Or, "That team is so good, we have no chance at winning."

These types of thoughts focus on possibility. Possibility by definition means, a thing that may happen. Sure there are many possibilities of outcomes each day. There is the possibility of getting into a car accident on the way to school or work. There is also the possibility of getting struck by lightening during a storm or the possibility of winning the lottery. Athletes who focus on possibilities are creating unnecessary mental clutter in their mind that deteriorates both focus and confidence.

Instead, athletes need to focus on probability. Probability is defined as, the likelihood of something happening. For example, although there is a possibility of being struck by lightening, the annual probability in the U.S. is 1 in 700,000. From there, you can then better gauge ways of decreasing the probability more, such as staying inside the house and staying off the phone or electrical devices. This same method can also be used in sports. Below is one example: 

Sports 

1. Probability of turning Pro 
2. Probability of Winning a tournament
2. Probability of Getting past a round or having a good round 
3. Probability of performing well in the first half of the performance
4. Probability of performing well on the next play of point 

Notice that in order to increase confidence and focus, we must first increase probability. This means that in order to go big, we must first focus small. Athletes need to adjust their focus to smaller and smaller outcomes. The smaller the outcome, the greater the probability, and the greater the probability, the more confident and focused the athlete will become. This exercise can be used in multiple areas, even with academics. Here's another example below. 

Academics

1. Probability of getting into a top college
2. Probability of scoring very high on my SAT & Finishing with at least a 3.8 GPA
3. Probability of getting great grades this semester
4. Probability of scoring very high on the next test
5. Probability of dedicating an extra 30-minutes a day to studying 
6. Probability of opening the text book to start studying

This is just one critical step of the goal setting process. To get started building your mental toughness in sports, academics, business, or life, request a free meeting by visiting the contact page and filling out the brief form.