Are You Playing With a Winning Mindset?

STACK Expert Loren Fogelman breaks down three types of athlete mindsets. Which one do you usually play with? It makes a difference.

Celebrating a win

Do you have what it takes to win? Your mindset plays a key role in your success on the field. Evaluate your mindset during competition. Are you:

  1. Cold — playing to avoid losing
  2. Warm  playing to win
  3. Hot  knowing you are going to win

Your competitive mindset directly affects your confidence during games. Notice how differently you play when you're hot compared to when you're cold.

Playing against tough competition when you're feeling cold is a difficult place to be. Some athletes mentally give up before they even start. They figure, "Why even try when I don't have a chance?" It's difficult to do your best when you've already psyched yourself out.

Most athletes fall into the warm category, although they believe they're hot. Since they think they have a chance to win, they put out maximum effort. Making a mistake, though, can crack their confidence. That's when their focus can shift from winning to catching up.

Feeling hot, like you're the one to beat, is the sweet spot. It's easy to stay focused when you're confident about your skills, committed to your plan and fully prepared. That's when you enter the zone. You don't second-guess yourself when faced with challenges. And although you're putting in maximum effort, it feels easy.

In changing your mindset, you have the ability to gain confidence during a game and make yourself the one to beat. Don't ever go into a game playing not to lose. That'll stop you before the first whistle blows. Take time prior to every event to get into a winning mindset. You'll be tough to beat.

Learn more about developing a winning mindset:

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