07 Jan 5 Ways Female Athletes Can Bounce Back From Mistakes
I don’t have enough fingers to count how many mistakes I’ve made in my soccer playing career. From missed penalty kicks, to turnovers, to wrong passes to the other team, and even scoring an own goal at age 6 (still scarred!), mistakes have been something that’s been a part of being an athlete.
But. The cool thing is, you bolster your technical and tactical growth, and continue on the relentless pursuit of improvement.
Today’s guest post is from Breanne Smedley, who does work with female athletes and their moms to develop a more confident and healthy young girl. Enjoy:
If you’re an athlete, chances are you’ve been here more than once. (And if you’re a parent of an athlete, you’ve no doubt seen this unfold!)
You make a mistake in competition or practice.
Then, the next thing you know you make another mistake.
And all of a sudden you’re “in your own head” and can’t figure out how to play well again. Best case scenario, you coast the rest of the way through practice or the game and hope to not make things worse. Worst case, you’re benched or chalk it up to a terrible practice, leaving you feeling defeated.
Here’s the deal.
Mistakes and failures will always happen if you’re an athlete. They are as normal as breathing and as common as dribbling, shooting, and trapping.
The difference between a “good” and “bad” performance is in an athlete’s ability to learn from and recover quickly from these mistakes.
Here are 5 go-to ways to ensure you can bounce back from mistakes in a snap!
Insider tip: It’s key you work on these before you get in a situation where you’re making mistakes! If you wait until you’re in the moment, it’s too late.
One of the most productive and effective things you can do after you make a mistake is to take a deep, intentional breath.
Breathing in fully through your nose, filling your lungs and belly, then exhaling completely is the simplest way to get back to the present moment when a mistake occurs.
Practice it now! Breathe in fully until you can’t take in any more air. Hold for a second. Release.
Taking a breath like this calms our nervous system, helping us to be less stressed and more focused.
#2: Talk to Yourself – Intentionally
Self-talk is key after a mistake.
You’re already probably saying things to yourself…but likely it’s something like:
“That was stupid!”
“I better not make that mistake again”
“I hope the ball doesn’t come to me”
Negative self-talk will only make more mistakes likely.
It’s okay to feel disappointed or mad about a mistake. The faster you can pause, breathe, and say something productive, the faster you’ll be able to recover.It’s okay to feel disappointed or mad about a mistake. The faster you can pause, breathe, and say something productive, the faster you’ll be able to recover. Click To Tweet
Here are some phrases to have in your back pocket:
“I got the next one”
“I want the ball”
“Learn and move on”
3. Have a mistake ritual.
A mistake ritual is like a failure recovery system that you rely on when you make a mistake or aren’t playing well.
You come up with what works for you!
The key is to make it simple and something you can repeat anywhere.
Examples from other athletes:
- Take a breath and snap your fingers together on the exhale
- Take a breath, say an affirmation, adjust my ponytail
- Make a “shake off” motion with my hands
Note: If you play a sport that is fast paced and you don’t have 2 seconds to do your mistake ritual, you can do it on the move! Imagining your mistake ritual as you transition to the next play is just as effective!
4. Be Aware of Body Language
How we carry ourselves, especially after a mistake, sends messages to our brain, our teammates, and our opponents.
Even though you may feel like curling up in a ball, it’s important your body language doesn’t show this.
Keep your head high.
Make eye contact with your teammates.
Reset and get back to work.
If you sulk, turn your back, hunch your shoulders, and look overly frustrated or angry you are:
- Not playing in the present moment (and therefore won’t play your best)
- Losing the trust of your teammates
- Giving your opponent an upper hand
- Signaling to your coach that you need to come out of the game
5. Forget About What Others Are Thinking
One of the hardest things about making mistakes is feeling like you let your team, coaches, or parents down.
If you get caught up in what you think other people are thinking of you, you are not playing in the present moment and will not play well (making the whole spiral thing even worse!)
You can’t control what people think or how they react or respond.
Focus on what is in your control: maintaining good body language, breathing and resetting, and focusing on the next play.Focus on what is in your control: maintaining good body language, breathing and resetting, and focusing on the next play. Click To Tweet
Remember: Every moment is a new opportunity. Dwelling on past mistakes that you can’t change will only keep you from learning and getting better because of them!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Breanne Smedley is a certified female athlete Elite Performance Coach who works to empower and enable female athletes to cultivate true confidence, unlock their potential, and level up their performance across all aspects of their lives. She has a true passion for empowering and enabling female athletes (and their parents!) with the mental aspect of their sport -> the missing key to confident and elite performance.
Connect with Breanne on her instagram @bresmedley, website www.kristinabreane.com, or through her free Facebook group for moms of female athletes at https://www.facebook.com/groups/elitecompetitorsociety
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