We all know that a certain percentage of performance is mental. In many cases players struggle to handle obstacles – turnovers, missed shots, lack of playing time, not starting, etc. The obstacles turn into road blocks that stop players from playing at their highest level.
What is important to understand is that the obstacle or event we are facing isn’t the only variable in the equation. How we respond to the event is what creates the outcome, not the event itself. The event, plus the response, equals the outcome.
E + R = O
For example, Player A isn’t getting as much playing time as they believe they should (event). They become frustrated, have negative body language, stop working hard and blame the coach (response). Because they stop working hard and have poor body language and attitude their playing time decreases even more (outcome). In this example the response allows the event to become a road block rather than an opportunity
Now let’s look at how Player B handles the same situation. They aren’t playing as much as they would like. They become frustrated, but say “I’m going to work harder, get in extra work, and prove to coach that I should be playing more.” Through positive response and additional work, the player improves and increases their performance as well as playing time.
For both players the event or obstacle is the same, but the response changes their outcomes. Having an awareness of how you respond to events and an understanding that you alone are in charge or your responses is a great way to start developing your mental game on and off the court.