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Beating the Odds

Olympians and the Mental Game

In just one day, the Winter Olympics have given us breath-taking glimpses into the mental game, from snowboarder Jessika Jenson’s reframing to single skater Jeremy Abbott’s defeated body language.

Abbott fell on his first jump in the team competition, finished seventh, and put his head between his knees and covered it with his hands.

Jenson scored a 58.50 to earn a spot in the semifinal round in women’s slopestyle, then gave some insight into her mental game.

“I was a little bummed that I couldn’t put down the run that I wanted,” Jenson said. “I’m just going to move forward, look forward to semis and look at it as more practice.”

“Look at it as more practice.”

Those words apply not only to Olympians but to anyone who competes, whether in the NCAA basketball tournament, the Stanley Cup playoffs, the Masters, or the World Series.

You can choose the way you look at anything. You can take an Olympic event viewed by millions and choose to call it practice. It’s a technique called re-framing.

“If you don’t like the picture, put a different frame around it,” said peak performance coach Dave Cross. “No situation has any meaning except the one that you give it.

Abbott, on the other hand, looked defeated after his finish. It’s natural to FEEL disappointed after a disappointment. But in high-level competition, it’s important to ACT like a winner.

Dr. Rob Gilbert, a professor of sport psychology who has coached thousands of athletes at all levels, calls “Act As If” the three most important words in the English language.

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Thank you for visiting Total Game Plan. As long as you’re here, please check out other articles to help you reach your potential.

How to Survive Your Sports Season” is an invaluable resource to help you with the highs and lows of practice and competition.

To improve at anything, check out “The Improvement Factor: How Champions Turn Practice into Success.”


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