Always be Learning
Regardless of where you are in the journey towards performance excellence, you must approach every day with an emphasis on the process of learning and improvement, instead of outcomes and results. This is the foundation of consistently performing at your best. Mastery is a moving target and you must actively maintain your curiosity about how to improve. This becomes more and more difficult as you progress from beginner to expert, but remains the foundation of sustained excellence in all fields. Never stop experimenting with potential ways to get better.
Embrace the Challenge
Achieving excellence is difficult and comes in the form of repeated setbacks and disappointments. Expect the journey to be challenging and let the obstacles fuel your fire. Don’t allow short-term letdowns to blind you to long-term progress. Identify the reasons it is worth it to make the commitment required to maximize your potential. Rely on your character strengths when things get tough and use your past success as evidence to believe in yourself.
Control the Controllables
We often get caught up trying to control things that are not directly in our control, preventing us from paying full attention to the things we do have the power to control. Think of your attention as a mental muscle. You must train to control your attention and develop a mental strategy to focus on the right thing, at the right time, regardless of the situation. Learn to notice the instinctual thoughts and feelings that are out of your control without letting them distract your focus. Use purposeful behaviors and planned thoughts to create a repeatable performance routine that gets you focused and ready. Use the sensations of pressure, nerves, and fear to your advantage by understanding your body is getting itself ready to perform.
Compete Right Now
Overthinking is one of the most common obstacles to effective performance. The past, the future, what other people think, winning, losing, stats, are all distractions. Figure out the one or two things that are most helpful for you to focus on in the moment while you play. Use your training to develop trust in your body to take care of the rest. Fully tune into reading and reacting to the game in the moment. Enjoy the thrill of competition and never stop fighting to push the game in your favor.