How to Keep Your Emotions In Check After a Blown Call

December 2, 2012 | Chris Stankovich

Roddick Yelling at Umpire

There's a good chance you've been upset by an official's call at some point in your athletic career. Whether it's an umpire missing a strike, a basketball referee blowing a charge call, or a football official giving your team a bad ball marking on the field, one thing is certain: sports officials are far from perfect.

Unfortunately, some athletes allow a blown call to completely disrupt their focus, concentration, motivation and resiliency, resulting in poor play and a lack of mental toughness. However, you don't have to let a referee bring you down. Although it's easy to fall into this trap, there are a number of things you can do to keep your cool and quickly move past a bad or missed call. (Learn how to get mentally tough.)

So, if you happen to end up on the short end of a bad or missed call, remember these sport psychology tips. They can help you rebound from the situation and quickly get back to playing your best.

Officials are human

It's important to understand that sports officials are human, and that they are often required to make calls in less than a second. The speed and number of moving players make it extremely difficult to get every call correct, even for the most seasoned official.

One bad call is usually not a game breaker

Don't ever allow an official to take you off your game. Rarely does one bad call make or break a game, and there are usually plenty of opportunities throughout a contest to make up for an earlier call that went against you.

Understand the difference between bad and wrong calls

There is a difference between bad calls and wrong calls. A bad call is when a referee misses a call, like when an umpire calls a runner out at first when it is clear he beat the throw to the bag. A wrong call is when an official is unaware of or ignores a sports rule. Fortunately, wrong calls rarely happen. But when they do occur, simply inform your coach and let him or her take care of it. If it's a bad call, let it go and quickly turn your focus to the next play.

Focus on the things you control

Unfortunately, some athletes allow their emotions to get caught up in things over which they have zero control, like an official making a bad call. When you let things beyond your control take over your focus, you are helping the other team rather than your own. Instead, focus on your play and give your best effort to help your team win the game.

Bad calls go both ways

Bad calls usually go both ways in sports, and officials have been known to compensate for a bad call with a "makeup" call against the other team. Of course, you shouldn't rely on this happening, but it may be comforting to know that bad calls do usually even out over the course of a game or season.

The good news is most sports officials do an outstanding job. For those times when they do miss a call, it's important that you keep your emotions in check; and remember, the only play that's important in sports is the next play, not the last one.

Find more sport psychology tips here.

Chris Stankovich
- Chris Stankovich, Ph.D., is a licensed professional clinical counselor and founder of Advanced Human Performance Systems, a counseling and performance center based in Columbus, Ohio....
Chris Stankovich
- Chris Stankovich, Ph.D., is a licensed professional clinical counselor and founder of Advanced Human Performance Systems, a counseling and performance center based in Columbus, Ohio....
Must See
Why You Should Never Doubt Colin Kaepernick Why You Should Never Doubt Colin Kaepernick
Views: 24,784,290
Brandon Jennings: Brandon Jennings: "Always Improve"
Views: 5,619,549
Margus Hunt Benches 385 Pounds for Five Reps Margus Hunt Benches 385 Pounds for Five Reps
Views: 21,149,562

Featured Videos

Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Kevin Love's In-Season Basketball Workout Views: 1,018,026
A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce A Day in the Life With Kansas City Chiefs Tight End Travis Kelce Views: 15,983
Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Path to the Pros 2015: Shaq Thompson Views: 70,834
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

Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall Two-Ball Dribbling Drill With John Wall
Views: 3,362,770
Paul Rabil's Box Jumps Paul Rabil's Box Jumps
Views: 851,480
Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift Roy Hibbert 540 lbs Deadlift
Views: 1,577,381
Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles Dribbling Drills for Tighter Handles
Views: 4,333,163
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,499,164

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
5 Tips for Playing Mentally Tough Tennis

5 Tips for Playing Mentally Tough Tennis

How to Play (Mentally) Tough Tennis Photo Cred: Tennis is one of the loneliest sports. Being in a match is like being on a deserted island where...

Q&A: How to Deal With a Tough Coach

Q&A: How to Deal With a Tough Coach

The One Word You Should Never Say to Yourself

The One Word You Should Never Say to Yourself

Use Sports Psychology Against Your Opponents

Use Sports Psychology Against Your Opponents

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

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

Overcome the 5 Most Common Mental Mistakes in Sports

Overcome the 5 Most Common Mental Mistakes in Sports

Build Mental Toughness in the Weight Room

Build Mental Toughness in the Weight Room

A Coach Describes What Its Like to Cut Players

A Coach Describes What It

Tips to Be a Better Leader

Tips to Be a Better Leader

4 Tips for Building Confidence

4 Tips for Building Confidence

6 Ways Sport Parents Are Doing It Wrong

6 Ways Sport Parents Are Doing It Wrong

Overcome Your Fear of Failure

Overcome Your Fear of Failure

Stress Exposure Training for Basketball

Stress Exposure Training for Basketball

5 Steps to Becoming a Better Coach

5 Steps to Becoming a Better Coach

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

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

Why Athletes Must Focus on Developing Their Own Identity

Why Athletes Must Focus on Developing Their Own Identity

How Mentally Tough Are You?

How Mentally Tough Are You?

Using Sports Imagery as Pre-Performance Routine

Using Sports Imagery as Pre-Performance Routine

4 Reasons Your Team Is Losing

4 Reasons Your Team Is Losing

Does Home Field Actually Confer an Advantage?

Does Home Field Actually Confer an Advantage?

The Art of Strength and Conditioning Coaching

The Art of Strength and Conditioning Coaching

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

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

Get Tough on Your Goals to Get Fit

Get Tough on Your Goals to Get Fit

5 Steps to Changing a Bad Habit

5 Steps to Changing a Bad Habit

How to 'Keep Your Cool' on the Football Field

How to 'Keep Your Cool' on the Football Field

Growth Mindset: How to Think Like a Champion

Growth Mindset: How to Think Like a Champion

Regain Your Confidence by Getting BIG

Regain Your Confidence by Getting BIG

The Athletic Brain: How to Learn to Anticipate

The Athletic Brain: How to Learn to Anticipate

Home Field Advantage Is Real, Says Science

Home Field Advantage Is Real, Says Science

How to Improve Mental Focus on the Baseball Diamond

How to Improve Mental Focus on the Baseball Diamond

Positive Affirmations for Athletes

Positive Affirmations for Athletes

How Nik Wallenda Prepared to Walk Across the Grand Canyon

How Nik Wallenda Prepared to Walk Across the Grand Canyon

The Holistic Approach to Impactful Sports Coaching

The Holistic Approach to Impactful Sports Coaching

How Mental Flexibility Boosts Your Game

How Mental Flexibility Boosts Your Game

Can a Faster Brain Increase Sports Performance?

Can a Faster Brain Increase Sports Performance?

5 Tips to Becoming a Successful Athlete

5 Tips to Becoming a Successful Athlete

4 Obstacles to Better Goal Setting

4 Obstacles to Better Goal Setting

Why You Should Be Training Instead of Exercising

Why You Should Be Training Instead of Exercising

How Clayton Kershaw Gets in the Zone

How Clayton Kershaw Gets in the Zone

How Mental Performance Affects Your Workouts

How Mental Performance Affects Your Workouts

YardBarker