The last article I put out about failure and how to view it got some good feedback, so I want to jump back into that idea in the area of performance, being that's my specialty. A big barrier athletes often find themselves facing is a moment in their careers whether it's high school, college or professionally that they reach a speed bump that causes them to slow down or choke during a performance. It could be a time that the athlete "fails" to reach an expected goal, resulting in a performance lower than they or others expected. In their minds, the vision of what they wanted to happen didn't come to fruition because of their personal expectations. All this leads them into a slump that for many can be tough to get out of. It happens to every athlete in every sport. For some it lasts minutes, some for games or even months.
Many coaches and athletes say the solution is to trust the process, or just keep playing. I've addressed this dilemma in my book and I'm going to go over a few points in this article that will be helpful in solving this issue. When a setback in life arises it appears way more severe than it really is. We begin to think that our problem has a lot more at stake, whether it's losing our job, getting into a fight with our spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend, a lawsuit or financial problems. But in essence, it's the same temporary occurrence that an athlete goes through that will eventually pass. Everything in life has a time limit, some things are longer than others, but everyone agrees that nothing lasts forever. So the idea here is to expedite the length of the slump or setback.
There are a number of factors that come into play in order to effectively end the slump and regain momentum.
Focus- What are you going to focus on? We can't always control how long the issue will last, but we can control our perspective. The way we see problems or dilemmas has a huge impact on their outcomes. In performance, we tend to focus on the slump and how were not playing up to our expectations. This doesn't allow our minds and muscle memory to remember what we really play like and who we really are as an athlete. Our new focus becomes our sluggish play, slowly allowing our subconscious to adapt our new style of play which ends up being harmful to our game. We become what we focus on. Our focus needs to be the desired outcome and previous success in our game. Think back to a time you were successful and remember how you felt and acted in that moment.
The Why- Often at times when we reach a setback or slump we forget why we are here. Our 'Why' gives us the motive to keep playing and continue the strong work ethic with no option to quit. There are countless stories of people and athletes that saw huge success when their 'Whys' were most affluent. The latest one I can recall is in the 2017 NBA Playoffs Boston Celtics Point Guard Isaiah Thomas scored 51 points in a conference game. After the game, a reporter asked him. "What triggered the great performance?" To which he replied, " It's my sister, she died in a car crash yesterday, this is for her!" His performance went way beyond himself and his ego, It became about something way bigger, almost like it was not in his control, he entered a place that his 'Why' took over.
Lastly, reflect on how and what got you here. We can easily get sidetracked as we become more successful, and we forget what got us here. What got you here as a skilled athlete? What made your relationship good or bad? What got you financial success in the past? The answer to these questions is the path to getting back on track, whatever contributed to your previous success will relieve you from your current slump or setback. If you've done it before you can do it again. It's just a matter of deciding what to focus on, why you're there and what got you here.