May 17, 2010
It's been an exciting few weeks in sports.The NFL draft, NBA and NHL playoffs, Tiger's return and recent withdrawal due to neck pain, baseball season, and our kids' spring sport championships all come to mind.Everyone is playing to win and that sometimes takes a killer instinct.Do you have it? Can you develop it? Read on ...
Let me clear up a misunderstanding first ... a "killer instinct" is not mean, unsportsmanlike, or over-aggressive. Simply put, it's when an athlete ignores the score and continues to give 100% until the game is over. And, I would argue that we should train all our young athletes this way.
Why athletes don't put opponents away
Some athletes don't want to "run up the score" when comfortably ahead. These athletes can be accused of unsportsmanlike behavior or disrespecting their opponents. Even the 2007 New England Patriots (a professional sports team with athletes who are paid millions to win) were accused of this when they went 16-0 in the regular season ... Click here for more >
I couldn't disagree more! You should respect your opponents enough to give 100% at all times and kick their butts! By consistently playing at 100%, you train yourself to play at a high level every time you play. This decreases anxiety and increases focus when you are behind or in championship games. You're confident that you're giving your best. There is no reason to "try harder" and you are free to focus on execution.
Letting up on your opponent is not being nice. Some athletes, in fact, are insulted because you're not giving your best. You set your opponents up for a comeback by increasing their hope and confidence as you slow down.
Develop your killer instinct
- Commit to playing to your own standard of excellence, not up or down to the level of your opponent.
- Give 100% at all times.
- Set aggressive performance and process goals, minimize focus on the expected outcomes (e.g., the score, win or loss)
- Keep your psychological and physical intensity up. Athletes tend to relax when playing with a lead. Find a way to challenge yourself every play.
- Remember you haven't won anything until the game is over. Avoid thinking about the future result and focus on the present moment in the game.
|In the News
Great podcast with ESPN's Mike & Mike
as they debate the actions of a college golfer who purposely lost a playoff hole to allow an opponent to make the cut. Listen >
Endurance athletes - I talk about pushing thru the pain in this 5/3 River Bank Run podcast. Listen >