How to Have a Winning Mindset
Your back is against the wall. It’s win or go home. What’s your mindset? How do you respond?
This is not an easy situation to be in. If you haven’t faced this scenario, you will at some time.
The difficulty lies in the fact that every pitch, every at-bat and every out seem to take on a heightened sense of importance.
Many players feel the pressure of failing or letting down teammates. Some teams even have a collective negative mindset such as, the other team is unbeatable. We will never climb out of this hole, especially since our opponents have dominated our team lately.
Competing against a top opponent is tough enough. Competing against the history of being on the losing end of head-to-head games against that team is even tougher.
When you think that you have little chance to win, you have little chance to win.
When you believe history is against you, confidence is crushed and it becomes difficult to concentrate. Playing your best ball becomes relatively impossible.
What if history was on your side? If the chance of winning is possible would you be more confident? Would you take the field with a positive mindset and feel motivated to turn the tide?
In truth, history proves you can win.
No matter the circumstances, some team, at some time, has overcome similar circumstances. If it was done once, it can be done again. So, why not you and your team?
If you can adopt a winning mindset heading into a game, you give yourself the best chance to perform at your peak. This mentality can give you the mental edge needed to set an example for another team in the future faced with similar circumstances.
This mindset was evident when the New York Yankees staved off elimination in the American League Championship Series against the Houston Astros.
The Yankees were trailing in the series 3-1 facing elimination. On the mound was pitcher James Paxton, who was unable to complete five innings in his post-season debut with the Yankees this year.
In his next playoff game and the first game against the Astros, Paxton only lasted three innings. Paxton was both confident and dominant giving up only one run, striking out nine hitters, leading the Yankees to a 4-1 victory and giving New York a fighting chance in the series.
PAXTON: “My goal was to go out there and give it everything I had for my team. I wasn’t ready to go home yet.”
Yankees manager and former player Aaron Boone saw history as an indication that the Yankees could win Game 5 and he told his team as much prior to taking the field.
BOONE: “Not just our sport, but all kinds of sports are littered with stories of comebacks. So we know we’re certainly capable of that. We have a tough task against a great team and a great pitcher, and we’ll look forward to going out and hopefully grabbing one and getting on a plane.”
By using history to your advantage, you can overcome many obstacles and put yourself in a mindset to come back and succeed.
Using History to your Advantage:
Use stories or examples of athletes who have made inspiring comebacks. You can use examples from other sports too.
After reading these examples, spend 10 minutes visualizing performing well in the upcoming game. Immerse yourself in the feelings of your visualization such as feeling motivated, confident, determined and focused.
Remember, if it happened before, it can happen again.
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