It happens quite often that athletes create a mental expectation based on whom the opponent is. If it is a highly-ranked player, some athletes become psyched out even before the match begins. Interesting enough, the opposite happens when the opponent is a lesser skilled player. There is a believe or over-confidence that the match was already won before the match starts. In either situation, these athletes are showing difficulty managing their own abilities to remain completely focused. The opponents’ ranking suddenly becomes a distraction.
It is quite challenging to remain fully focused on the task at hand. Knowing whom the opponent is usually becomes a very important source of information as athletes can design strategies to play against the opponent’s weaknesses. On the other hand, there is the emotional component that can ultimately become the “edge” factor, which may eventually turn out to be the winning formula. Regardless of whom the opponent is, an athlete needs to be fully prepared to do his/her best. There is no better story than being an underdog and winning. However, this stories happen to athletes who are willing to put up a tireless fight to the very end. It has happened way too many times that over-confident and unfocused athlete lose.
If you believe you are the underdog, then go out and play like the champion that you are. Show your opponent that you are a worthy and tough athlete; your confidence and focus may well be a distracting factor to your opponent, but only if you are determined to show willingness to play hard until the very end.
On the other hand, if you are a better skilled athlete than your opponent’s, make sure you are really focused and ready to play. Do not underestimate your opponent, who may well be there to give you the fight of your life. Make sure you are ready to win and remain on course until you achieve your goal. If you find yourself distracted by the toughness of your opponent, then make sure you are equally if not stronger than him/her.
Stay focused on your skills rather than being distracted by your opponent’s.
- If you are the better player, remain completely focused on your game and play to your fullest strengths.
- If you are the weaker player, go out there and put up a strong fight and determination. You may actually scare your opponent and be able to turn the match around and win.