"To achieve in sports you first have to have a dream, and then you must act on that dream. The best athletes are those who truly enjoy what they are doing and display a tremendous amount of work ethic. They continue to persevere in spite of setbacks and never lose sight of their ultimate goal."
---Dianne Holum

As in sports, as in life, the goal is to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. A number of athletes assert that they might not get lucky if they prepare for the worst case scenarios. However, the other perspective is based upon the guiding axiom, “be prepared.” It is defensive to become conscious of different possibilities affecting performance, as well as results. You are better equipped to deal with the unexpected and regain your focus, when there is a plan.

Look at Rory McIlroy when he played the Master’s in Augusta. He was strongly positioned to win entering the 4th round with a four stroke lead. He would have been the 2nd youngest golfer in history to win the tournament should he get the eminent Green Jacket.

As with any sport, so much about golf is left to chance, totally out of your control. In that case, you have an option to focus on things you have control over. These are your thoughts and your actions. Those are pretty much what you can control. A good rule of thumb is planning for unusual circumstances.

He might have picked up from his tee shot on the 10, if only McIlroy had prepared for the worst possible result. After his tee shot ricocheted off a tree and settled between the cabins, his focus unraveled. Nothing had prepared him for this. There is no previous experience to take into account.

His composure was impacted on three different levels.

1. Focus and performance were the most obvious. He was not on his game. The lost concentration caused his patience to dwindle. The consequences set things in motion leading to McIlroy’s four shot lead to disappear. There was a quick change for what had begun as hassle-free golf. Things did not go as he has expected.

During this moment, nobody on his team was able to lend him a hand. His caddie’s , whose capabilities are limited, can’t possibly do it. Just when he needed it, the resources were not available for him. He hadn’t been cooperating with a sports psychologist on his mental game. He felt he could do without one until now.

If only Rory worked with me before the tournament, we would have been empowering his mental game by getting him ready for unexpected situations such as this. By efficiently using his breaks in-between shots to regain his focus, he would have been all geared up to recover his self-control.
Prevention and preparation are priceless.

2. His self-assurance had been taken aback, McIlroy admits. He did not have the tools to take back his composure when his game was shaken off. He was unable to leave his final shot behind at that point in time. While still recovering from the10th hole, it was practically impracticable to focus on his shot that is in progress.

3. The lost momentum has a very huge effect. His energy changed once he stepped out of the zone. He lost his vivacity. His edge was blunted. He experienced a breakdown.
Breakdowns are significant. If you are in a situation where everything seems to be going wrong, feeling like a bad streak of luck, then you are probably in a breakdown. They can appear in all forms including physical problems, situational issues or technical malfunctions. It just depends.

Not only was he dealing with the upset at the Master’s, his golf clubs were lost between his flight from Georgia to Kuala Lumpur, for the Malaysian Open. Under normal circumstances that fluke appears highly unlikely since he was on a private chartered jet.

All athletes experience breakdowns as they move up in rankings, working toward BIG goals. The crucial piece is not if it will happen, because it will. More importantly is how you respond to the breakdown when it occurs. Your response is directly related to your level of commitment for your vision.

When faced with an obstacle, something which initially appears insurmountable, how will you respond? Pivotal events of this nature separate truly committed athletes from all the rest. The highly driven athlete perseveres although faced with adversity. Continued inspired action continues to be taken to maintain momentum toward the goal. By maintaining focus on his overall vision, McIlroy chose to stay the course. The obstacles are detours instead of road blocks on his rise to success.

Three factors prove McIlroy is on the right path and will end up being an even better golfer in the long run.

1. He views the Masters as a learning experience, instead of something to dwell upon.
2. He is continuing on his tour, regaining his momentum in the Malaysian Open.
3. McIlroy is strongly committed to his goal, what he knows is possible. He is not allowing himself to be slowed down by freak circumstances.

By the way, shortly after a breakdown there is usually a breakthrough. Some event will occur with even better results than anticipated. No one knows when it will happen, but when it does the outcome will be sweet.

Activity: Reflect on your sports career. Were there times when everything appeared to be going wrong? It was very confusing and did not seem to make sense. They could have been major, or a series of minor, events. Consider how you responded to the upsets. Reflect on how you regained momentum, getting back on course toward your goal. In the long run think about some unexpected outcome which was even better than you had anticipated. The series of setbacks were part of your breakdown. Maintaining commitment to your vision, continuing to take inspired action regardless of the obstacles, leads to breakthroughs.

Author's Bio: 

Do you feel you compete because it is expected of you? All the training you do feels like work instead of fun? When you resolve the struggle, your energy becomes focused on the race.

The Inner Game for Winning Athletes System is an easy step-by-step process building focus and confidence to reach your performance goals. Winners act with speed. If you are reading this and it feels true for you, then get in touch with Loren for a FREE Discovery Session at info@innergameforwinningathletes.com