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by Dr. Patrick Cohn

How To Play Well When You Feel Uncomfortable

Does your performance suffer when you’re not “on,” you feel uncomfortable, or don’t have your “A” game that day?

Do you struggle with staying confident and grind out the competition if your game is off or the competition is strong?

I often work with perfectionists that have trouble staying composed when their games are not up to self-imposed standards.

They not only want to win, but they want their performance to look good and feel good at the same time. If they don’t perform close to perfection, they lose momentum, entertain doubts, and become easily frustrated.

Why Perfectionists Struggle

Athletes who are perfectionists by nature also struggle with getting the job done when they don’t feel right or are not spot on.

For example, I know basketball players who miss shots early in the game and they stop shooting for fear of missing more shots. I don’t think Michael Jordan ever thought this way… He kept shooting and believing the next shot would go in!

Likewise, I know golfers who struggle with finishing off the round when they don’t have their “A” game. Confidence gets thrown out the window when the round does not go according to plan or at the first signs of marginal shots.

I’ve also worked with a NASCAR driver that self-destructed when he or his team made one mistake early in the race. He was so distracted with thinking “what’s wrong with us” that he could not adjust.

What’s common among all these scenarios? If an athlete or team is not willing to grind it out or make adjustments, they have little chance at winning or performing well.

Why Making Adjustments is Part of being Mentally Tough

I believe one sign of a mentally tough athlete is the ability to improvise and make adjustments when you don’t have your best game that day. You may not realize that it’s impossible to play in the zone or near your peak every day.

Not every athlete has the mindset to play well when he feels uncomfortable. Negative emotions and doubt interfere with getting the job done.

How do you get the most from your performance when you are uncomfortable?

How do you grind it our when you don’t have your “A” game?

Three Mental Game Strategies to Help You Adjust

1. Prepare yourself mentally prior to competition for anything that might happen. You must know that competition does not always go according to plan.

2. Plan for the best scenario, but also prepare for the fact that you might need to improvise or adapt. I like my students to be prepared mentally so they can make any adjustments and cope with any adversity.

3. If you make a mistake, accept it, and refocus quickly back on the game. Ask yourself, “What’s important to focus on right now.” Let the past be in the past.

Workbook and CD Program to Help You Perform At Your Peak:

Staying composed after mistakes, when your behind, or not playing your best it imperative to being a great athlete.
Check out our best program to help athletes stay composed and confident.

The Composed Athlete – A 14 Day Plan for Superior Composure

Your Mental Game Coach,

Dr. Patrick Cohn

p.s. I help athletes build confidence every day with one-on-one mental coaching. Learn more here:

One-one-one mental training – In Person, Phone, or Skype from anywhere in the world!