Everyone has heard the expression, “You need to believe to achieve.”
But what happens when belief gives way to anxiety?
You know the feeling… A near victory begins to slip away, self-assurance gives way to doubt, and your confidence begins to get shaky.
How do you manage this anxiety? What does it take to dig deep and believe, despite setbacks?
Let’s look at a recent case study where belief and anxiety impacted both teams:
Five-time super bowl winning QB Tom Brady and the New England Patriots vs. the first-time since 1998 Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI…
The Falcons headed into the fourth quarter with a 28-9 lead. Little by little, the Falcons watched Tom Brady lead one of the greatest comebacks in sports history that culminated in a 34-28 overtime victory.
The Patriots scored 19 points in the final quarter, including a pair of 2-point conversions, which is a direct result of a deep-seated belief in the team’s ability to overcome the competitive challenge before them.
The Patriots appeared poised and resolute despite facing difficult odds. On the other side, the Falcons looked anxious and made critical errors late in the fourth quarter, including an unnecessary offensive holding call and taking a sack that put them out of field goal range which would have given them a two-score lead.
Many Falcons players were hanging their heads on the sidelines towards the end of the game as if they feared what they deemed inevitable. Tom Brady held fast with belief.
Sport Psychologist Gershon Tenenbaum explains how anxiety leads to errors.
“If a player feels high anxiety, he may divert his attention from the game and is more susceptible to errors.”
Belief And The Ability to Persevere Through Anxiety
- Belief is faith in your ability to perform successfully in a given situation. A strong belief in your ability gives you the confidence necessary when things don’t go according to plan; such as facing an early deficit, not finding your rhythm, bad officiating, missed opportunities or even some unlucky events that put you at a disadvantage…
- Belief keeps your head in the game because you trust in your mental, physical and technical skills to turn things around.
- A strong self-belief does not mean you are devoid of all anxiety, or edginess. When you care about a game, you have invested a lot of time preparing and practicing, of course you want a positive outcome and so you will feel those butterflies before and at the start of a game.
- Anxiety becomes debilitating when it’s excessive and interferes with your ability to perform at the level you normally perform. When you become analytical and mechanical that your mind gets in the way of your ability and, in those instances, the mind will win out every time.
Tardio Tips: 3 Methods to Increase your Belief in your Abilities
- Positive Self-Talk – Your words to yourself are like directives your body follows implicitly. In other words, if you want positive results, you need positive self-talk.
- Image Success – Images are your thoughts in action. When you purposefully create positive images of yourself succeeding, you are creating a mental blueprint for achieving your goals.
- Do it in Practice – Take practice seriously. You have multiple chances in practices to foster belief by preparing thoroughly, drilling correctly and fostering the success habit by doing the little things correctly.
Remember, achieving starts with believing!
To read more: Why “Going For It” Beats Playing it Safe
Sports Parents: To Push or Not to Push? The Right Call for Sports Parents
For a free fifteen minute consultation: Free 15-Minute Mental Coaching Session