Return To Sport. But Not So Fast. . .

Words by: Cam Smith |Aug 4, 2020

Has anyone seen what’s going on in television these days? SPORTS ARE BACK. NBA playoffs have started, MLB is swinging, NHL is dropping the puck, and the Premier League is underway. 

Now, how about your sport? 

Things are starting up again, and that is exciting. However, we can’t let this excitement get the best of us because extreme joy can cause costly mistakes.  

When we become overly excited it’s because we get fixated on what’s causing the excitement. It’s like when you score to take the lead with only 1-minute left. The team is beyond stoked and just waiting for the clock to tick zero. However, the number one goal is to maintain that position of having the lead. The opposing team will be coming at you hard and will be frustrated, putting in everything they’ve got to tie the game. The ball is in your court to manage the extreme joy and play solid defense with zero errors.

We can compare this excitement with the re-opening of businesses and parks as we enter new phases of COVID-19 protocols. We put in so much hard work to flatten the curve, but many cities are already seeing an increase in cases as society returns to living their usual way (shopping, restaurants, traveling locally, seeing new friends, family, etc.). It’s of the utmost importance not to lose the new habits and skills we’ve built around maintaining our health and social distancing practices.

Looking At Others

HeadStartPro’s Looking at others for the patterns that increase the risk of error technique goes a long way in helping us control our minds and control the moment. Having a strong peripheral vision is essential to better anticipate outcomes and act according to what we see. The more you see, the more you can react. It’s why Wayne Gretzky was the greatest hockey player of his time. His success was partly attributed to his ability to see more of the ice than any other player, which gave him heightened awareness. 

Looking at others helps you see the good and the bad. We can see what people are doing right, and this gives us a note on how we can improve our own game. It’s also looking at others for the patterns that increase the risk of error. When you see someone in a state of rushing, frustration, fatigue or complacency, it can remind you to self-check in rating your own states and bring you back to the moment. And if someone from your team is in one of the states, it gives you a chance to intervene before they make an error that can cost you the game or that could cause a player injury.

As we return to sport amid the new COVID-19 phases of reopening, continue to work on the new habits that you’ve built, and maybe there are new ones to work on too. Start practicing the Looking At Others, Critical Error Reduction Technique. See if you can notice the states others are in too (rushing, frustration, fatigue, complacency, excitement, etc.). If it’s an opposing player, then maybe you can take advantage of their inattention. If it’s your teammate, then intervene to get them back on track. The goal is to use your vision to give you more opportunities to make critical decisions that will set you apart from the competition.

In other news . . .

We are excited to launch the updated Athlete Course with fresh-looking videos, exercises, and readings. Now is the perfect time to enhance your game.

These videos below from Mike Shaw and Hunter Visser, explain more about what HeadStartPro is all about!

For more HeadStartPro tools, the Critical Error Reduction Techniques, a full list of performance-related habits, and other strategies for achieving peak performance check out our online courses for coaches and athletes:

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