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Quit Being Hard on Yourself After Mistakes pt. 2





It’s normal to think things like: I just lost us the game, I let my team down, I shouldn’t be playing at this level. Normal doesn’t necessarily mean objective, though, and the way you see a game unfolding isn’t guaranteed to be accurate either. In team sports it’s very hard to be the sole cause of a win or a loss.

  • Think back to a time you had a bad game and your team still won.

  • Think back to a time one of your teammates had a bad game and your team still won.

You are the center of your own story - that’s true. That story is just how you perceive things as you bop around in an objectively-not-you-centered-world. What’s equally important to remember is that a game doesn’t have you at its center. It’s easy to assume personal responsibility for points against or losses, because it’s a simple ‘if A, then B’ process. It’s easier than considering all the factors involved in what caused a single point (but, that's what happens in video session). Considering others' roles and all of the situational factors involved (e.g. active boards, weird bounces) also takes you out of the center of the narrative. Is it accurate to:

  • Look at a teammate who missed the first shot of the game and say ‘they lost us the game?’

  • In the last ten minutes of a game, say that a goal against just lost the game?

There’s too many factors involved up to that point and so much left as a reaction to that single event yet to unfold. Even a point in the last 1.5 seconds can’t accurately qualify as an ‘I lost it for us’ moment. You have to ask, ‘were there other scoring chances for us that we didn’t convert on?’ Take a look back at that statement to notice the ‘we’ and ‘us’ language. You’re not the only person out there and can’t be solely responsible for every action at every moment in the offensive and defensive zones (whether you were or weren’t on the field/ice/court).


Give yourself some credit by giving yourself less credit. You’re just one person and it’s not entirely about you. The story in your head is just how you’re seeing things, but it can’t be the whole and accurate story of a game. Let yourself take a step back, be objective, and play the game in front of you instead of buying into the story you’re telling in your head.


When you need help with your mental game, just ask (michael@staceyandassociates.com, 814-207-4284), pick a time to chat, and play with new perspective.