Performance Excellence Center & Dr. Eddie O'Connor

October 26, 2010

Hello Friends,

A number of the athletes I'm consulting with now are struggling with fatigue and motivation at the end of the season. Others are nervous about post-season competitions. Below I provide tips on how to stay energized and focused during this critical time.

Tomorrow, I head out to Providence, RI for the Association of Applied Sport Psychology conference. I am an invited presenter for one of their most popular presentations, "Best of the Best: Signature Moves" where leading sport psychologists present their most effective interventions. I'll be presenting Defusion: When Positive Thinking Doesn't Work.  I also found out yesterday that the Association granted me Fellow status which gives me a voice in leading where the organization and the field of sport psychology is headed.

Happy Halloween!

- Dr. Eddie

Late Season Push 

It is late in the season and your body & mind are tired.  Does this describe you?
  • Lacking energy or focus in practice
  • Less motivated to go to practice or give the extra effort
  • Distracted by school or social events
  • Sport is less fun than it was in September
  • Lessening your challenging pre-season goals, or
  • Secretly, would you be ok if you made an early exit from championships so the season would end?
Below are a few tips to keep your edge and finish the season strong

Post-Workout Recovery

Before we address the mind, be sure your body is recovered. Check out this helpful article regarding post-exercise recovery to maintain your energy levels. Be sure you have adequate nutrition after workouts and proper rest to last the season.  Work with your coaches to avoid overtraining and get enough sleep.

Motivation is Overrated

I will take a committed athlete over a motivated athlete any day of the week. Committed athletes do what it takes when motivation is lacking.  Many players are motivated at the beginning of the season.  But as fatigue, losses or adversity builds during the season motivation will diminish. Committed athletes rededicate themselves to practice with intensity even when they don't feel like it. And that separates them from their opponents this late in the season to win championships.

Refocus on Your Goals

You set goals at the beginning of the season.  Hopefully, you have kept them close to you.  Now is the time to review them daily.  Imagine achieving them.  Feel how good it will be to accomplish them. As you do that, acknowledge the pain and sacrifice needed to be successful. Be willing to go through that in service of your goals.  After all, if it was easy - everyone would do it. 

Enjoy the Challenge

Your teammates and opponents are struggling too.  If the fun is gone, see where you can find the challenge in overcoming the adversity. Can you be better and more consistent than your opponent in remaining determined, confident, focused, and in-control under pressure? THAT'S mental toughness.

Make the Most of the Time You Have Left

You have put in a lot of work over a lot of weeks.  Now is not the time to ease up.  Not when you are so close to the finish. Think about how many days or weeks you have left.  If you are starting to think about after the season, your performance today will suffer. Commit to keeping a "right now" focus for the duration of the season and promise yourself a relaxing break when it is truly all over.  And leave the rest of your life off the field when you practice. Many of my athletes will use a routine when they start practice and games to signal that they are "all athlete" for the duration of the event. Like Clark Kent going into the phone booth to change into Superman, find a transition to go from student to athlete.

In summary, remember your preseason goals, be willing to work hard to achieve them, and keep your focus on the here and now.  You've got to "be where you're at!"
Watch Dr. Eddie on eightWest

Parents play an important role in the success of young athletes. Dr. Eddie shares some please do and please don't tips for coaching from the sidelines in a constructive, nurturing way.

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