Special from DrCaseyCooper.com
In this ultra-competitive world of athletics, one of the more critical psychological myths to dispel is: Playing Not to Lose. What often seems like a safe and sound way to prepare an athlete for success is more often a recipe for disastrous disappointment. And here's why...
When athletes play NOT TO LOSE there is an underlying fear of that potential loss. In order to battle through and conquer this fear, athletes often turn to thoughts of what they will not do as they prepare for a big competition. The NOT TO LOSE strategy often sounds something like this: "DON'T DOUBLE FAULT," "DON'T LET HIM/HER CONTROL THE POINT," and most critical to the strategy, "JUST DON'T LOSE!" How could such preparation become a recipe for a loss?
Simply put, the brain doesn't process the words Do Not in the way that we would like. What happens when I suggest, "Do not think about a Purple Elephant with Black Polka dots." I said DON'T think about that elephant! What happened was your brain's way of thinking about "don't." Your brain pulled up a memory of an elephant, manipulated the color, added the polka dots, and finally reminded you NOT to think about that again.