There are two ways to deal with a slump: the slump mentality and the solution mentality.
Performance ruts become reinforced when athlete’s have a “slump mentality.”
The slump mentality asks, “What’s wrong with me?” The solution mentality asks, “What adjustment can I make?”
The slump mentality focuses on past issues, mistakes and performances dips keeping you stuck in the past. The solution mentality focuses on the present and the things you can control.
The slump mentality sees slumps as an ability issue. The solution mentality sees performance dips as a part of being an athlete and searches for ways to rebound and reach greater performance heights.
The slump mentality gathers evidence to support that the slump will last (“I have never been able to perform well under pressure.”) The solution mentality looks at past slump-busting as evidence that there is a way out.
If you focus on the problem, you will only create a bigger problem, one that becomes further entrenched in your mind.
The Solution Mentality
- Understands that performance dips are normal
- Helps maintain confidence by focusing on the answer instead of the problem
- Sees performance dips as temporary setbacks.
- Resolves to improve and looks for ways to achieve new standards.
- Utilizes past setbacks as evidence to support a return to form.
Washington Nationals pitcher Max Scherzer is a great example of the solution mentality.
Scherzer was the best pitcher for the first three-plus months of the season possessing a 1.82 ERA, 103 strikeouts and only 14 walks.
Since July 7, Scherzer has slumped and his ERA swelled to 5.05 ERA over his next eight starts. Scherzer has recorded only 2 wins in July and August over the course of 11 starts.
Scherzer analyzed his pitching woes of late and, instead of focusing on the slump itself, is focusing on the solution.
Scherzer feels his slump is due to a slight technique issue, something he has worked through before. By focusing on the solution and viewing his performance dip with perspective, Scherzer has maintained his confidence despite his numbers.
SCHERZER: “That’s kinda atypical when I give up damage. It’s not a body mechanical thing. It’s a small thing within my arm action where I’m not quite getting my fingers on top of the ball and it’s causing me to flatten everything out… It’s going to take some work. You just have to create a good habit with it… This isn’t a huge fix, just a time-consuming fix.”
It is notice Scherzer’s comment about his performance dip, you can see an athlete who is confident about returning to his previous form. But the biggest piece of advice from Scherzer is patience, “It’s going to take some work.”
Try this tip to develop a “Solution Mentality” when faced with a slump:
Focusing on a solution requires that you don’t overthink or that you “get out of your own head.” Find evidence to support your ability to regain your form.
Recall those times in the past when you successfully broke out of your slump. As many baseball and softball hitters know, the only way to break out of a slump is to keep swinging. Soon, you will connect!
Check out our video of the week, How To Boost Your Confidence In Sports And The Confidence Roller Coaster.
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