”I like the challenge of getting players to rise to certain levels, but that's the easy part. The biggest challenge is to get them to believe in what we're doing. They have to understand that it's O.K. to have good days and bad days.” Temple women’s basketball coach and former WNBA player, Dawn Staley
DR. G’s COMMENTS: I think we’re all under the illusion in this country that somehow whenever we perform in our sport we can and should always be at our best. In this line of thinking, when we’re not, there must be something terribly wrong that we’re doing. In fact, sometimes this is very true. There are times when our bad performances are a direct result of the technical, strategic or mental mistakes that we make. There are times when we have no energy, don’t feel well or just can’t get the job done for whatever reason. In addition, there are also those few performances when we do things right, feel good and for whatever reason our performance is just plain flat. We don’t play well. Our timing is slightly off. We’re not as fast, strong or “on” as usual and our play reflects that. Let me state the obvious. No one is ever at their best all of the time. NO ONE! Sure, you want to strive for perfection. You want to pursue excellence. You hate it with a passion when things don’t go well. However, hard as you may try, you will always have those performances when you’re pretty far from perfect! Get used to it! It’s normal. Competing in your sport is like riding a roller coaster. There are always going to be both ups and downs. That’s just the nature of sport. Some days you may be brilliant and soar with the eagles. The next day you may be terrible and gobble with the turkeys. These bad performances don’t necessarily mean that there’s anything wrong with you or your game. They don’t mean that you have a serious problem that needs immediate addressing. Your bad days, like your great ones are just part of your sport. The key for you is to try to remember that these bad performances won’t ever be a problem for you unless you make them a problem. That is, if you give yourself a hard time when you fail or lose, if you emotionally beat yourself up after a poor performance, if you get frustrated and angry with yourself and hang onto these bad outings like a dog with a bone then these reactions will create the real problem. You don’t have to like it when things go badly. What you do have to do is keep your off-days in perspective because throughout your career you will occasionally have them. Stay positive, be relaxed about them, try to learn something from them and then just let them go.