Athletic execution in every sport is all about quick and biomechanically complicated movements. Even in a sport like golf, where the action waits for you, the swing is complex and extremely fast.
Far too many athletes over-think when they play. They review their mechanics, question their tactics, worry about the outcome or potential for a mistake or replay and beat themselves up for all of the miscues they’ve already made up to that point. When you do this while the action is going on, several things begin to happen: First, you distract your focus of concentration from the task at hand in the moment. This insures that you will be focusing on the wrong things as you go through the performance; Second, you slow down your reaction time and reflexes so that you will always be a split second or two behind in the action; Third, you begin to tighten up physically, guaranteeing that your play will be forced, tentative and far below your potential.
Simply put, for you as an athlete, THINKING IS HAZARDOUS TO YOUR PERFORMANCE HEALTH! Why?
Your thinking brain is just far too slow and inept to keep up with the fast action and complicated movements required for smooth and instinctive execution. If you have to think out there, if you question whether you should come out of goal for the cross, take that open shot or pass, or hit an approach shot and come up to net, in the time that you waste thinking these kinds of thoughts, the critical window of opportunity for successful action has already closed. As a result, whatever you do is way late, performance-wise.
If you truly want to have a great game, to execute to your potential, then you must learn to leave your during-performance criticisms, self-evaluations, doubts about tactical decisions and/or worries about screwing up at home. The time to think, evaluate and analyze is when you’re working on your game in practice or on your own at home and NEVER, EVER WHEN IT COUNTS!
You can’t think and be a peak performer! These two don’t EVER mix! Trying to think your way through a performance that’s important to you will make you wicked slow and inept. Thinking will always cause you to miss that brief window of opportunity that can only be timely caught by trusting your instincts and trained muscle memory and allowing them to respond intuitively in the moment.
So my advice to you is simple: WHEN THE HEAT OF COMPETITION IS TURNED UP HIGH, LOSE YOUR MIND AND COME TO YOUR SENSES!