Sports Psychology IV—Gameday: “It’s pretty cold and windy today; I don’t feel like going.”

"On Fire" Steve Mahre by Mimi Stuart
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Seth Stisher, Pro Slalom Skier & Coach:

Don’t just be competitive on “Game Day.” I hear parents always touting that their child is very competitive. Oftentimes I see these same kids getting frustrated because they can’t accomplish something in a performance-day setting without ever realizing that they didn’t do what it takes in practice to accomplish their objectives.

IF you or your child/student are sore losers on game day, oftentimes that is because you only want it bad enough on Game Day. “Want it” everyday and one day you will begin to have more success.


Focus on the moment instead of thinking about the result you want or worrying about failure. Focusing on the present moment during every practice trains the brain to focus in the moment at a competition.

Yet, some people who are generally consistent with their performance have problems during competition because of their emotions and nerves. It helps to conjure up nerves during practice by imagining that you’re in competition. It also helps to use imagery to see yourself performing well under pressure.

Mix it up in training to conjure up some excitement and nerves. For example, in water skiing, go to different lakes, ski in different conditions, or have different people in the boat to get you used to the anxiety of skiing under different circumstances. However, there is nothing that beats getting used to the pressure by competing in a lot of tournaments.

by Alison Poulsen, Phd, and

Seth Stisher, Pro Slalom Skier and Coach
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Read “Sports Psychology: Training and Practice.”

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