Mental Takeaways from Monday Night Football and the 2012 Ryder Cup

October 11, 2012 | Todd Stofka

Recently, sports fans watched as top athletes let a poor mental game steal away a victory. Looking for examples? Let's refresh your memory.

During the 2012 Ryder Cup, the U.S. team had a sizeable lead going into the final day. But a few holes away from victory, the Americans seem to lose their confidence, caving in to the more self-assured European team.

Then, on Monday Night Football, Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys let their game fizzle. When you're playing at home with the your fans there to cheer you on, you need to use energy to win. Unfortunately, Romo's poor leadership led to an ugly loss to the Chicago Bears.

(Are you setting yourself up to fail?)

So what are some sports takeaways you can use to boost your mental game? Let's learn from these pro mistakes.

Have a Reason to Play

The European Ryder Cup team dedicated their performance to the late Seve Ballesteros, the Spanish pro who, in 1997, captained Europe to victory. Ballesteros died last May after a long battle with cancer. Giving tribute to his memory gave Europe a unique purpose, making golf more of a team sport than an individual competition. When team members share a common purpose, their will can be unstoppable. Without such a purpose, many players lack the drive to succeed. (What is your motivation?)

Finish Strong

Encouragement from teammates to finish strong seemed to disappear from the American team at the Ryder Cup, and it also happened to the Cowboys on Monday night after Romo threw several interceptions. It's not enough to see the finish line. To win, you have to cross it. The game is not over after a few mistakes, but even top professional players sometimes allow themselves to fall victim to negativity, causing them to not rise up for the team and fight to the finish.

Manage Mistakes

In sports and life, we all make mistakes, from missed putts to dropped footballs. Errors set back even professional players; however, those who pull victory out of the jaws of defeat are the ones who achieve greatness. A key mental skill is to forget your mistakes and focus on desired results. It makes for great sports entertainment while proving the value of mental training for all athletes.

Todd Stofka
- Since 2002, Todd Stofka has helped Olympians as well as professional, college and high school athletes jack up their game with The Stofka Method. He...
Todd Stofka
- Since 2002, Todd Stofka has helped Olympians as well as professional, college and high school athletes jack up their game with The Stofka Method. He...

Featured Videos

Adrian Gonzalez Rope Plank Adrian Gonzalez Rope Plank Views: 632,441
Ronda Rousey Shows Off Intense New Bag Drill Ronda Rousey Shows Off Intense New Bag Drill Views: 68,124
Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 5: Fundamentals Training Eastbay Path to the Pros Episode 5: Fundamentals Training Views: 1,526,403
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,866,164
Dustin Pedroia on Training Dustin Pedroia on Training
Views: 10,920,831
Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 43,151,981
Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night Dwight Howard Stays in the Gym All Night
Views: 6,099,366
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 12,009,040

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
Stress Exposure Training for Basketball

Stress Exposure Training for Basketball

Many coaches believe in the concept of "You play how you practice", but many don't actually implement this with their athletes. Stress exposure training...

4 Tips for Building Confidence

4 Tips for Building Confidence

What's Your Backup Plan When 'Plan A' Fails?

What's Your Backup Plan When 'Plan A' Fails?

A Coach Describes What It’s Like to Cut Players

A Coach Describes What It's Like to Cut Players

Why Athletes Must Focus on Developing Their Own Identity

Why Athletes Must Focus on Developing Their Own Identity

6 Ways Sport Parents Are Doing It Wrong

6 Ways Sport Parents Are Doing It Wrong

How to Improve Mental Focus on the Baseball Diamond

How to Improve Mental Focus on the Baseball Diamond

Build Mental Toughness in the Weight Room

Build Mental Toughness in the Weight Room

5 Tips to Becoming a Successful Athlete

5 Tips to Becoming a Successful Athlete

The Athletic Brain: How to Learn to Anticipate

The Athletic Brain: How to Learn to Anticipate

4 Obstacles to Better Goal Setting

4 Obstacles to Better Goal Setting

5 Steps to Becoming a Better Coach

5 Steps to Becoming a Better Coach

Get Tough on Your Goals to Get Fit

Get Tough on Your Goals to Get Fit

How Mentally Tough Are You?

How Mentally Tough Are You?

How Mental Flexibility Boosts Your Game

How Mental Flexibility Boosts Your Game

Tips to Be a Better Leader

Tips to Be a Better Leader

Regain Your Confidence by Getting BIG

Regain Your Confidence by Getting BIG

The Holistic Approach to Impactful Sports Coaching

The Holistic Approach to Impactful Sports Coaching

5 Tips for Playing Mentally Tough Tennis

5 Tips for Playing Mentally Tough Tennis

Why You Should Be Training Instead of Exercising

Why You Should Be Training Instead of Exercising

Does Home Field Actually Confer an Advantage?

Does Home Field Actually Confer an Advantage?

Mental Warm-Up: How to Build Confidence Before a Game

Mental Warm-Up: How to Build Confidence Before a Game

4 Reasons Your Team Is Losing

4 Reasons Your Team Is Losing

Q&A: How to Deal With a Tough Coach

Q&A: How to Deal With a Tough Coach

How Clayton Kershaw Gets in the Zone

How Clayton Kershaw Gets in the Zone

How to 'Keep Your Cool' on the Football Field

How to 'Keep Your Cool' on the Football Field

Using Sports Imagery as Pre-Performance Routine

Using Sports Imagery as Pre-Performance Routine

5 Steps to Changing a Bad Habit

5 Steps to Changing a Bad Habit

3 Strategies to Reduce Stress and Increase Athletic Performance

3 Strategies to Reduce Stress and Increase Athletic Performance

Overcome the 5 Most Common Mental Mistakes in Sports

Overcome the 5 Most Common Mental Mistakes in Sports

The One Word You Should Never Say to Yourself

The One Word You Should Never Say to Yourself

The Art of Strength and Conditioning Coaching

The Art of Strength and Conditioning Coaching

How Mental Performance Affects Your Workouts

How Mental Performance Affects Your Workouts

Can a Faster Brain Increase Sports Performance?

Can a Faster Brain Increase Sports Performance?

Study: Athletes Think Faster, More Accurately Than Non-Athletes

Study: Athletes Think Faster, More Accurately Than Non-Athletes

Home Field Advantage Is Real, Says Science

Home Field Advantage Is Real, Says Science

Growth Mindset: How to Think Like a Champion

Growth Mindset: How to Think Like a Champion

Positive Affirmations for Athletes

Positive Affirmations for Athletes

Use Sports Psychology Against Your Opponents

Use Sports Psychology Against Your Opponents

Overcome Your Fear of Failure

Overcome Your Fear of Failure

YardBarker