Tomorrow, college basketball really heats up…the Final Four of the NCAA tournament. Louisville, Kentucky, Ohio State and Kansas will be competing to see who will get to the final round.

I have have been a consultant for some Final Four teams and if I were to give a talk to the teams right before they played tomorrow night, I would give them this bit of advice…

At some point during the game tomorrow night, you will have a negative thought in your head.

“What if we lose this game?”

“What if I miss this foul shot?”

“I can’t handle this pressure!”

Well, let me explain how your mind works…

Your feelings of nervousness, lack of confidence or anger cannot hurt your performance…unless you let them. Your feelings come from your thoughts, not from an external source like a game, the crowd or even the referees.

Feelings and thoughts are neutral (and random). It’s normal to have negative thoughts pop up in your head, but you have the choice of which ones to focus on.

If you were enjoying a movie at the theater and a random thought about what you were going to eat after the movie popped into your head, wouldn’t you just dismiss that random thought and focus back on the movie? Of course you would.

You can also dismiss any negative thoughts on the court in the same way, even if you’re on national television.

We can’t control what thoughts pop up in our heads, but we can choose which ones to focus on.

If I am in New York City waiting for the C train, but the A train, the B train and the D train keep arriving, I cannot control that. But I can control which train I get on.

Your thoughts are the same way.

In other words…

Don’t take your thoughts so seriously.

It’s not what’s happening around you. It’s not what’s happening to you. What really matters is what’s happening INSIDE you.

Good luck in the Final Four and if you’re an accountant in Boston, Massachusetts or a musician in San Francisco, this applies to you too. We can all improve our performance by mastering the mental game.

Thanks for reading.

Ed Tseng
Peak Performance Coach
Pro of the Year USTA 2005
Author of “Game. Set. Life.”
Keynote Speaker


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