When the Game’s on the Line
Don’t get mad.
Anyone can be confident when they’re winning; true champions keep their cool when the odds are against them. “The victor will be able to bounce back quickly from negative things that happen in the game,” says Larry Lauer, director of coaching education and development at Michigan State University. Recognize negative feelings, then let them go. Acknowledging the need for a turnaround sets your mind up for a comeback.
Don't lose your head.
You’ve shot a ball through a hoop before, yes? So whether you’re playing H-O-R-S-E for lunch money or vying for the NCAA championship, the ball isn’t any different. Tell yourself that you’ve done this before, and this time isn’t any different. “Redirect your focus to [the fundamental aspects of] the game,” Lauer says. “Move your thoughts away from the past and into the moment, and then force yourself to engage.” Snap back into the present, and give 'em hell.