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Every Athlete Needs a Mental Reset

As a player, I'm sure you've noticed it many times. You just can't keep that error out of your mind. It keeps following you around mentally as you play, in your next at bat, on your next shift on the ice, as you pass the ball sloppily to a teammate on the pitch, on the golf course in your next shot, etc., etc., etc.

As the game goes on, it keeps gnawing at you. Then, what happens? It slowly eats at your game. Your play is not as sharp. You are not as committed and confident as you were at the start of the game. You lose focus.

It happens to all athletes and it is a continual process of "revival", if you will, and can be an endless loop for some. If you are not ready to confront those errors in a constructive way, sometimes those errors pile up not just on you for the remainder of the game, but maybe into the next practice and the next game, or match, after that.

It doesn't have to be an endless cycle and it doesn't have to be a matter of just "trying to forget about it" as I've heard (and said myself as a coach) other coaches try and instill in their players.

There is a skill set to be learned to help you navigate through the errors and the mistakes. First off, you need to know that everyone makes them. Form hall of famers to mini-mites, from professionals to highly skilled amateurs at all levels. This is all perfectly normal for any athlete, heck, for any human being, that walks the earth or plays sports.

The key is to try and reset, right, but how?

First off, recognize when this is happening, when an error is starting to taking over your thinking and your attitude in the moment. This is a huge part of the process. Once your recognize this is happening, now you can start to put those thoughts in a proper place.

Secondly, try to regroup. Regrouping can be physical, like taking your hat off and wiping your forehead in baseball (after an error in the field), or unsnapping your helmet and grabbing some water on the bench after a shift in hockey. It can be a physical trigger to stop the negative thinking and regroup.

Lastly, it can be a deep breath to get some fresh positive energy going, and then honing on the next play, next shift, or next possession.

This is process, a process that can be learned if done correctly and can be an integral part of being the best version of yourself that you can be.

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