The Top 5 Ways to Get in the Head of Opponents
Taking your opponent of his or her game can be a big help when playing to win, but how do you get in an opponent’s head? The more the other team thinks about you leaves less time for them to think about their own plans for success, creating a potential advantage for you. So, are there things athletes can do to tilt the game in their favor psychologically?
The top 5 ways to get in an opponent’s head
- Play with confidence. Confidence has been consistently correlated with peak performances, and confident athletes play with better focus, and fewer nerves. Be sure to take control of your training and your thinking, and follow specific pre-game routines to allow your confidence to take over in games.
- Be prepared. There is no excuse for being late, not having your gear ready, and being distracted by things you should have already taken care of well before the game. Leave nothing to chance and plan out each day so you can put your full effort into competing.
- Sharpen your focus. Can you quickly distinguish what is relevant versus irrelevant when you compete? Do you focus on what you can control, and let go of those things you don’t? Focused athletes play with great mind-body synchrony, make fewer mistakes and unforced errors, and even minimize the risk for injury .
- Be enthusiastic. Having a positive attitude can help with so many aspects of team building, leadership, and even on-field results. And the best news? Your attitude is entirely up to YOU, so choose wisely!
- Display resiliency. Like the old saying goes “It’s not how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get up.” Athletes who keep coming back and giving 100% effort most definitely get in the head of opponents, and rightfully so when you consider how many historical comebacks in sports have happened for this very reason.
The mental difference
When you consider how often in sports the competitors are evenly matched, it is often the mental difference that decides outcomes. Athletes who play with confidence, focus, and resiliency maximize their abilities, while other athletes who disregard mental toughness generally perform below what they are able. It is for these reasons that it makes sense for athletes to learn how to get any advantage they can, especially as this applies to mental toughness.
Often in sports the athlete who is fully prepared finds success, while otherwise talented athletes who don’t adequately prepare play far below their potential. Getting in the opponents head is just a slang way of saying take the opponent off his/her game, and make him/her play your game, not theirs. When the opponent stops playing to win and starts playing to avoid losing, then you know you’re in the opponent’s head — and very likely to win.