.

Turn Michael Phelps' Failure into a Win for You

All athletes face uncharted territory when their performance varies. It's how you handle it that matters.

I watched Saturday night as Michael Phelps  failed to medal in the 400-meter individual medley. This was the first time he had failed to medal since he was 15 years old. In the interview following the race, Phelps had a hard time being able to put his thoughts or words together. He was admittedly frustrated and put into an unfamiliar situation: no medal.

While I’m sure Michael Phelps will move on and be able to have a successful Olympics, this type of situation happens to athletes all the time; it’s just not broadcast on the evening news or all over the Internet. Just today, I had a parent come to me frustrated because their 16-year-old son had a bad basketball tournament. Not just one bad game, but a bad five-game tournament. This was uncharted territory for this athlete and it left the athlete and the parents wondering what to do next.

From a sport psychology perspective, the one thing I can tell you about sport performance is that it is unpredictable. Even the most consistent athlete can “miss the mark” from time to time. If we look at the Olympics, a perfect example is Kohei Uchimura, the top men’s gymnast on the Japanese Olympic team. He is known for his consistent and high-flying performances, yet he missed the high bar after a release and fell during the team qualifying round. It just happens!

One of the first things I teach athletes who are experiencing a disruption in their performance is to focus on what is going right. Using the example of my 16-year-old basketball player, I told him to think about his game and what he was doing well. If athletes can turn their attention to the stronger aspects of their performance, they are less likely to fall into despair and frustration. This can also include drawing your attention to your team. Oftentimes, athletes who get into a slump pout on the end of the bench instead of supporting and cheering on their teammates. No matter how bad your performance is you can always be a good teammate.

Next is to recognize if the mistakes you are making are mental or technical. This can be a challenge, especially for young athletes who may not be as automatic in their movements. They might be making a lot of technical or mechanical mistakes, but they turn those mistakes into mental ones by getting down and losing focus on the task at hand. Keep your mistakes mental or technical and fix what needs to be fixed—it’s that simple.

Finally, like in the case of Michael Phelps, draw your attention to the next event. There is nothing Michael can do about the 400 IM at this point, but he can redirect his focus on his other events and making them the best they can be. Any athlete can do this, but it’s much easier said than done. Redirecting your focus is a learned and practiced skill. Knowing how to use goal setting and mental imagery techniques are useful components to redirection.

To all the athletes competing at the Olympics or at the boys and girls club, just remember performances can vary but your attitude, knowledge and direction are always under your control.

Komfort July 31, 2012 at 09:16 PM
What Phelps did to the gay community will always be his greatest failure. http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2009/04/michael_phelps_and_miss_califo.html He's so nasty.
Things I Learned July 31, 2012 at 10:13 PM
spoiler alert! http://snipurl.com/24ib69m
Matt August 01, 2012 at 03:10 AM
Michael phelps is the best swimmer and always will be! He's in a slump! Remember silvers not bad it just means you're second best in the world for that event! He holds many records including 19 medals in his Olympic career! 15 of this medals were gold. There's been enough said.
wengwo December 04, 2012 at 11:07 AM
Would you want to have a more trend and also a practical lifestyle? Believe it or not,llife will likely be simpler after you possess a mulberry store handbag in hand.With their individual difference http://www.mulberryoutlet-malls.com ,most people obtain it definitely helpful to make use of these fantastic design and style in variations and colorways of mulberry factory shop bags as a consequence of its large standing can demonstrate to other individuals.To most of the people,a good mulberry outlet really tends to make their everyday residing greater.It adds order within their disorganized existence.
wengwo December 04, 2012 at 11:09 AM
mulberry handbags which were on sale inside the industry as a designer bags to get a long time. And keep on the mulberry outlet that give the a lot more trend as nicely as trendy style and design of those mulberry bags http://www.mulberryoutletstores-uk.com line to suit your needs to select from. It's a fact that far more girls nowadays would like to pick out these style and tasteful products to present one?ˉs higher standing,so should you also want 1,then our mulberry sale on the internet can be an awesome place for you.
wengwo December 04, 2012 at 11:10 AM
Depending on a exploration that show quite many females that own the mulberry handbags in hand.Because of the bags that are major quality designed at the same time as being the style style in designs so as to appeal all of these ladies,so usually you'll find these mulberry uk bags which might be on sale at superior rate inside the mulberry online http://www.mulberryoutlet-hot.com .Having said that in our reputed mulberry outlet that will give you the discount selling price for these genuine bags.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »