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Published on March 28th, 2012 | by DerbyLife

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How to Stay in the Game When Your Team is Down

by Sweetart

You’re in the last 15 minutes of the bout and your team is down in points. How do you react?

Do you give up?

Do you decide that your team has lost when the game isn’t over yet?

Are you imagining how refreshing that beer will be at the afterparty?

If so, those thoughts can actually cause you to lose. Your thoughts can manifest into reality.
Every skater makes a decision when they see that we are down and it is getting close to the end of the game.

PLAY HARDER or GIVE UP

Have you ever noticed a team can be neck and neck the entire game and at some point there is a momentum shift and one team will jump out ahead in points? What is happening here?
When you eliminate problems with endurance or injuries what you have left is a break down in a team’s mental game.

An athlete’s performance is about 40% physical and 60% psychological. Some experts say the mental aspect of performance is even higher. It is important to keep the concept of winning and losing in perspective. Wins and losses are not absolute values.

When does winning mean the most?
• when you beat a team that is equal to or better than your team
• when your team plays their best

When is a win not as significant?
• when you beat a weaker team
• when you played dirty to win

When is a loss the most devastating?
• when you don’t play your best
• when you lose against a team that isn’t as good as your team

When is losing not so bad?
• when you lose to a better team
• when your team plays its best to the very last whistle

Of course, it’s the final points that go down in the records. So…how to keep yourself and your team in the game when you are losing:

• Get your game face on. A skater’s non-verbal communication, her body language, facial expressions, etc make up 60-70% of her message. Look aggressive by putting your body into a low, wide stance. This will tell the other team that you are still in the game. You are not easy prey. Nothing signals giving up like a jammer who is skating tall and not pushing forward. Acting as if you are still fighting will deliver that message to your own brain as well. Like the saying goes, “Fake it until you make it!”

• Turn on your mantra. A person can only think about two or three things at a time. You can choose what those things are. Repeating phrases in your head like, “quick feet”, “hit hard”, or “push, push, push” will keep you focused on the present and what you need to do and keep negative thoughts out of your head.

• Think Positively. A lot can happen in a single jam in derby. Being down by 15 points can turn into being up by 15 points in two jams. Think positive thoughts like, “We can win this” and your performance will improve.

• Turn to your spirit leaders. There are always those skaters on every team that seem to always have sunshine shooting out of their rear ends. When the going gets tough, get those skaters to boost your team’s morale. This can be a great role for a skater of lesser skill to take on, and it can show that all members of the team are crucial, regardless of differences in skill level.

• Think of what’s best for the team. When a team is down in points the strategy will change. This is a time when the more advanced skaters will get more play and “power lineups” may be sent out. If you are a less seasoned skater and you find yourself not being played that much, you can‘t think selfishly. You can’t think about what is best for you, but instead think of what is best for the whole team. Remember, energy is contagious. If you are having a pity party for yourself on the bench, that negative attitude is going to affect the skaters who need to be going out there and kicking butt. You are a member of the team and the win (or loss) will belong to you as well.

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