Distractions account for an incredibly high number of dropped points, lost matches and missed opportunities in sport. Therefore, it’s little wonder that opposition “mental disintegration” was a part of Steve Waugh’s tactics. Nowadays, across all sports codes, opponents try to upset each other’s focus and concentration to get an edge. Couple that with the demands of the leagues and fans, among others, that leave an athlete depleted both physically and mentally.
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That behaviour, because it is a willful antagonism of team values and principles, creates a dysfunctional team and a toxic environment. As people, our behaviour is informed by how others around us, especially those with seniority, are behaving. When we believe others are doing little or nothing at all, we’re reluctant to do our part. On the other hand, if we feel others are trying to the best of their abilities to advance a common cause, we are motivated to push ahead.
Once told of the stereotype, the athletes will be consumed by the idea, and an intense drive to discredit the stereotype that they invest, unnecessarily, more brainpower in attempting to debunk the stereotype and forget to simply focus on what they are good at.
One of the most common situations where self-consciousness is likely to take hold is when an athlete faces established stars or players whom they admire. Immediately, they are caught between awe, admiration of their opposition and the impostor syndrome. They are starstruck and drowned with doubts on whether they are good enough to face this pedigree of opposition.