When I work with athletes, I tell them to think about traffic lights.
Let me explain.
Say you’re a tennis player. During a point, the ball coming at you can make you either defensive, offensive, or neutral. A ball coming at you that is difficult or makes you defensive is a “red” ball. “Green” means you should be offensive and “yellow” means it is a neutral, medium or rally ball.
When you receive a “red” ball, you should hit a safe shot like a lob, high, deep to the middle of the court. If you receive a “green” ball, you should be aggressive and hit the ball for a winning shot or somewhere difficult for your opponent. A “yellow” ball means the ball coming at you is neither easy or difficult, so you should just hit it back to where it came from.
So you should not only recognize what situation you are in, but just as important, you need to make the appropriate decision what to do.
Many times athletes do not lose because they are not sound mechanically, but because they make bad choices.
Next time you are practicing or competing, CHOOSE WISELY.