What To Do When Trailing In A Game
What mindset helps athletes make a comeback during a critical game when behind?
You have two options when trailing in a game:
- Focus on the outcome and fear losing. This mindset results in giving in or giving up. You become resigned that the loss is imminent. You start thinking negative and you don’t give yourself a chance to make a comeback.
- Focus on the current pitch. The mindset immerses you in the present moment. Focusing in the present helps keep the mind from thinking about losing. It is the approach that “THIS” pitch is the most important pitch of the game requiring 100 percent of your attention.
Focusing on the current pitch gives you the best chance to come back one play at a time.
The Los Angeles Angels made a tremendous comeback when their backs were against the wall to keep their hopes as they tried to stay in contention for a 2015 playoff spot.
The Angels were trailing the Texas Rangers 10-6 heading into the top of the ninth inning. The Angels desperately need a victory to keep their hopes alive…
And the Angels responded in dramatic fashion scoring 5 runs including two home runs to notch an 11-10 come-from-behind victory marking their biggest rally of the season.
Angels second baseman Johnny Giavotello, whose tie-breaking single capped the Angels comeback, said the Angels kept fighting because they kept believing.
GIAVOTELLO: “It’s almost surreal to come back in that situation. We never lost faith.”
Angels manager Mike Scioscia further delved into his team’s comeback mindset when the stakes were at their highest.
SCIOSCIA: “That is a great comeback. You’re not going to get that many hits strung out in the ninth against back-end-of-the-bullpen guys, but we did it. What I really like is win or lose, the dugout’s loose, the guys were playing aggressive.”
Lessons from the Los Angeles Angels: The Comeback Mindset
- You must believe. Trusting in your ability is the key to rally from behind.
- One at-bat at a time. Don’t try to do too much. Mounting a comeback requires a lot of little steps.
- Stay loose. Putting pressure on yourself is a performance-killer. Enjoy the challenge.
- Be aggressive. The only way to stay in the game is to play to win. Go for it, what do you have to lose?
Tip for playing with a comeback mindset:
Assess how you normally respond to when trailing in a competition:
- Does your self-talk become negative?
- Are you afraid to fail in these situations?
- Do you feel anxious, panicked, or defeated even before the game is over?
How can you reframe your self-talk to stay focused in the present moment when trailing in a game?
- Stay focused on positive images in your mind
- Tell yourself to continue fighting until the last second.
- Say “Fight,” “It’s not over” or “This is MY pitch.”
The only way to mount a comeback is to believe you can mount a comeback.
Check Out Our Video of The Week: How Athletes Can Be Mentally Tough!
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