Victory feels so good, yet losing feels like agony. As expected, the winner experiences many emotions in different intensities e.g. confident, superior, satisfied, humble, empathy for the loser, happy, relaxed. Similarly, the loser experiences an array of feelings from distraught, depressed, anger, resentful, anxious, sad, like a failure, cheated and even sometimes success. Sports competitions can come with many powerfully emotional experiences from massive high of victory, and the agony of defeat. However, in life, we sometimes have to lose to know how good it feels to win. We have to experiences lows to be able to enjoy the highs.
We all like to win. Results of victory usually make us feel good. Although sometimes, we learn a lot more from defeat rather than victory. Our perception to the defeat is what is key. Do we allow it to crumble? or do we use it as a motivator to say, "next time, I am going to be the winner". Its important for people to learn from defeat, deal with the emotions that come with it, not pointing the finger, find ways of improving, and look at the positives and how you can build on them.
How can we channel the energy in the right way?. Do we want our players/team-mates to have bounce back ability or do we want to kick them when they are down? What is helpful and what is not? What can we do, each and every one of us, to make a comfortable environment for players/team-mates to be themselves and play to the best of their ability. To play relaxed and to play free.
Pride - "I am proud of you - not only for your talent but your effort, your desire, your attitude and hardwork" If a player has all of these qualities, I believe they are winners. By having the ability to make players feel good, then in my eyes, you are also a winner. If you have the ability to make a person play to their strengths, play to the best of your ability, and having a calming influence, you are a winner.
We all want to win, there is no doubt about it. And so you should. Having pride in your performance, and believing that you should be other there on the pitch, and competing to the best of your ability are reasons that we enjoy the sport. Believe that you are good whether its in a winning or a losing situation, whilst learning from mistakes. Sometimes teams lose games with a dodgy goal, or unlucky bounce but that is football. Would we play if it was predictable? Sometimes the best team doesnt
win, and sometimes the luck doesnt always fall to the best players.
Defeat gives us the chance to learn - learn about ways to improve, learn about others emotional responses, learn who is calm in defeat, learn who takes defeat personally. and finally learn from the winners. What do they do that you would like to be able to do? Instead of having rage against the winners, embrace their strengths, and be in awe of excellence. Use this as your motivation, "I will become better than you".
What did you do today to make you feel proud? Use that and believe that you are a winner!!!
What did you do well in the game to make you feel proud? Use that and believe that you are a winner!!!
A winner is someone who will take defeat and turn it around.
It is the eve of the Scottish Premier League Cup Final. Working with Spartans doing performance psychology, I am extremely excited in helping them in the quest to win the cup. Spartans face Glasgow City at Alloa's Recreation Park tomorrow night, Wednesday 29th of May, at 730pm.
"That is why cup finals are so special because on the day anyone can beat anyone". Ian Rush.
The team who gives their all for 90 minutes; has the right attitude and works together has the best chance at lifting the cup.
"Talent wins games, but team work and intelligence wins championships" Michael Jordan
Team work is the ability to work together towards a common vision. (Winning the cup and enjoying it). "The ability to direct each other towards the one goal is the fuel that allows common people to attain uncommon results" - Andrew Carnegie.
Visualising success up until kick off will increase chances, and by practising in your mind, will help your body train for peak performance. Visualise what you do best, and how you contribute to your team. Feel it and believe it. Believe in yourself. Believe in each other. Imagine lifting the cup at the end of the game and how good that will feel. Imagine the things you could do to get you there. Enjoy that feeling.
Getting over a mistake instantly and concentrating in the positive things you do will help you to perform better. Also by noticing the good things that your team mates do rather than getting annoyed at mistakes, helps create a positive environment and a good feeling which will also help success. This is a very important part of team work - making your team mates feel valued, playing for each other and the pride of the badge.
Lastly and most importantly, please enjoy the big stage! Being in a cup final is exciting and should be fun! Enjoy the hard work! Enjoy showcasing your skills and your techniques. Enjoy the great game and enjoy working hard for each other. Playing in the moment, just like you did as a kid...no distractions, no fear, no hesitation. Enjoying every moment. Playing in the moment. To win the cup.
It's game day for most women footballers in the UK and I am guessing there are may different ways of preparing. Some players will be enjoying their pre-game breakfast, some will be in airports to get to games, others will be with teammates on a bus hopefully enjoying the extra time together or some may still be enjoying their bed.
We all prepare different for our games. Some of us need to be relaxed right up until kick off, some may need to blast up the tunes driving to the ground, some like to be buzzing for quite a while before. It's important that each person knows what works for them. Do you play better when you are feeling calm? Do you play better when you are buzzing? Key to preparation is knowing where you need to be at as far as feelings, thoughts and behaviour, not only for during the game but the lead up to it.
Think about a match that you felt so good about before, during and after and this will help you work out how to get your peak performance. What did you do the night before? The morning of? Right before kick off? What works for you?
Each player works differently which is why even for coaches to understand preparation and cater for players. Do you incorporate 5 mins in the warm up for players to prepare themselves in the areas they feel they need? Do you allow for players to speak up in team talks to increase responsibility? Allowing players to take ownership of roles off the park will help them be responsible on the park. Just as players are the ones responsible for their pre-game preparation!
Lastly, pre performance routines are great to help with consistently but the successful players are those who are able to adapt to changes. Adapt to things outwith their control. Sometimes we haven't included hiccups in our routines so that could be being stuck in traffic, not being allowed on pitch to warm up, even a big night out the night before or even after the game. By not focusing on these things, allows us to put our energy into the game. We only have 90 minutes on the park, how many of these minutes can you give your all? How many of these will you touch the ball? Research suggests about 2 minutes each person. This isn't a lot of time, therefore, concentration and focus off the ball is crucial to success. If you allow your mind to wander to the things we cannot control, it's distracting us from the things we can. We can control our effort and our attitude. Effort and attitude. Focus on these things today whilst being as prepared as possible and see how you feel after the game. Enjoy! It's game day!
Tracy Donachie, MSc in Performance Psychology.