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Training Mindset vs Competitive Mindset

In any sport, there are two crucial mindsets athletes build confidence and trust with. These two mindsets are a "Training Mindset" and a "Competitive Mindset." Either mindset used at the wrong time can lead to frustration. However, used in the right situation, they can be the decisive difference. "The "Training Mindset" is beneficial to athletes in practices. The focus is on improvement by paying attention to the details of your sport. You concentrate on perfecting the technique and fundamentals of the game. You analyze and correct mistakes to build your skillsets in practice through repetition and muscle memory. A "Competitive Mindset" is the attitude you want during competition. You play freely, having confidence in the skills you have developed in training. You want to play intuitively and spontaneously. The game can be competitive but enjoyable, too—some people call it being in the "zone." However, we've often seen when an athlete's confidence fades after a mistake or error in competition. We say, "she/he is in her/his head." I would agree, but it's more in-depth than that. We make a correct assessment in the athlete's situation when this happens but yet fail to follow up with a resolution to help them with the problem. The athlete's confidence becomes fragile during this phase because they have experienced a split focus. They are competing with a "Training Mindset" when they should be in a "Competitive Mindset." A split-focus slows down the athlete's ability to compete at their best level due, due to their overthinking, which leads to their poor performance. There are several things we can do to help an athlete refocus, but I'll mention only one today. When you see a friend or find yourself frustrated during a competition, ask yourself or the athlete struggling, "are you in a "Training Mindset" or a Competitive Mindset?" This will be a guide back to a singular focus. This will be the first step towards a healthier mindset and the one appropriate for training or competition. There are several other opinions on how you can redirect yourself or help a teammate maintain the correct mindset for the activity at hand, but that will be a future conversation.


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