Dwelling on a poor performance or loss can have negative effects on your mindset and future performances. The longer you ruminate about a bad game or lackluster performance, the more it becomes embedded in your mind and can lead to a repetition of the same mistakes. This is because when you mentally rehearse a scenario repeatedly, you are more likely to perform that way in the future.
Furthermore, ruminating about a poor performance negatively affects your focus in two ways.
First, when you can't shake the memory of a bad game, you will not be fully engaged in practice. This lack of focus in practice interferes with honing your skills, improving your game, and preparing for future performances.
Secondly, dwelling on a bad game creates a fear of failure, which takes your focus away from what you should be doing in the moment.
To overcome past losses, mistakes, or performances, it is important to have a short memory and stop focusing on what has already happened. A forgettable performance should be just that: forgotten. This can be achieved by understanding that all athletes experience mistakes, slow times, missed shots, failed attempts, and lackluster performances. Additionally, viewing a loss as a lesson, rather than a lack of talent, and seeing success as a process can help improve your attitude towards the situation.
To move forward after a poor performance, give yourself a brief amount of time, 24 hours or less, to assess the competition. It is okay to review and learn from your performance, but avoid reliving your mistakes over and over. Remind yourself that the competition is over and focus on what you can do today to improve your performance tomorrow.
Bouncing back from a poor performance is a mental skill that can be improved with practice and the right mindset. If you have difficulty bouncing back, it may be helpful to contact a sports performance coach or mental performance specialist to improve your mental toughness.