The big game is on the line, and it’s come down to two free throws. The basketball player bounces the ball, looks up at the basket. What is going through her head?
Is it “I have to make these two shots for my parents who sacrificed everything for me to be able to play this sport” ??
Or is it nothing but “Bounce, look, set my feet, shoot” ?
We don’t know, of course. But for her to be successful, I think the answer has to be the second one.
It can seem like a good idea to remind yourself (or your team) of what is at stake, of how hard you worked to get here, what was spent or sacrificed, to psych yourself up to perform. But then that’s what you’re thinking about—not about what you have to do.
You get in your own head, and it’s way harder to focus on the mechanics of the task.