By Dr. Patrick Cohn at Peak Performance Sports, LLC.
Do you beat yourself up after competitions and only focus on your mistakes? Self criticism hurts an athlete but the effect of criticism is doubled when it comes from within the athlete’s mind.
Being self-critical is the quickest way to shatter confidence. Many times, athletes describe themselves as being their own biggest critic.
This mindset is viewed by some in a positive light meaning that this type of athlete pushes to be perfect and nothing less is sufficient. However self-criticism never pushes an athlete towards excellence.
Self-criticism post competition sends the message that you are not good enough and, no matter what you accomplish, that is not good enough either.
A lot of athletes destroy their confidence between competitions by being too judgemental. When they don’t perform up to their expectations, they tend to beat themselves up.
Rather than focussing on your mistakes, don’t take it home with you. Leave the competition on the stage/field/rink and transition. If you’re thinking about it all night, you’re taking that performance too personally. Give yourself 30-60 minutes tops to assess your performance and then move on.
Secondly, have a post game/show routine where you start to behave a bit differently after the competition. How? First step is to focus on what you did well. For instance, ask yourself what are two things you feel you did well? It’s important to focus on the positive first.
Step 2 is NOT focussing on your mistakes but rather learn and grow from your performance. It’s vitally important to keep your confidence from competition to competition and not destroy it afterwards. Try to do an honest, objective assessment of your performance. Use that information as a launch pad to know what you need to focus on in your next practice/prep. It’s about growing and getting better and then taking that to practice and applying that. Assess your performance in a way so that you can apply those lessons learned in future practices and competitions. That becomes an objective to improve that specific skill.
If you need guidance on how to become your own best friend in sports, please contact me at (416) 805-6155 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can help you transition, determine the lessons learned and strategise for optimal performance.