Just One More Revisited

I wrote about my Just One More Approach years ago and included it as one Excuse Buster strategy in “Coach I didn’t run because…” It is simple. It is effective.

  • It can maintain momentum by keeping the focus on doing the right things and not resting on one’s laurels.
  • It can stop losing streaks by keeping the focus on just right now and not the past.
  • It can stop choking by focusing on what you control – only the next step or play – and not on future events or outcomes.
  • It can stop the “upset loss” before it ever happens by staying intense on just the opponent in front of you instead of looking at your schedule down the road.
  • It can get you through tough patches by focusing on your one next move and not the discomfort (mental or physical) you may be feeling.

So why don’t more athletes, coaches and teams use this approach? Just listen to any sports interviews. Talk about championships abound. When you find an athlete or team focusing on future outcomes – they are at a much higher likelihood to lose.

I am reserving this discussion to performance. Performance is about a current event. It’s now. It’s the competition I’m in. And at the conclusion of one competition it is about only your next one. And I am not referring to goal setting or creating a vision of being a champion. Those have a place in a strong mental game. And though it is good to have that vision and goal – you will get there only by executing your next play effectively. And that is done in the present.

There is a theme of great athletes and teams – they are relentless at focusing on the present in their pursuit of future outcomes. In several interviews of Tom Brady (quarterback for the New England Patriots) when media ask about the rest of the season or the team’s chances of winning the Super Bowl he has the right response. His coach, Bill Belichick

At this point of the season the Atlanta Falcons are only 4-6 in the eleventh week of the season. But they are in first place in their division with other teams breathing down their neck and teams in other divisions with far superior records. As a team they understand what they need to do – win. However, instead of projecting end of season records and places they have the right mindset. And that mindset is “Just One More”. In the post-game interview Head Coach Mike Smith told the media they just need to go 1-0. When questioned about the tough schedule in front of them he responded, “We’ve got some very good teams coming in over the next couple of weeks that have had a lot of success this season, but our focus is on this week and getting prepared for Cleveland (their next game).” He’s not focusing beyond that and he wants his team with the same focus. What grabbed me is that he has his team mentally conditioned to keep this focus. In the locker room after the game Smith addressed his team after the victory. Smith: “What do we have to do?” Team in unison: “Just go one and oh.”

They get it.

There is no way to know how the rest of the season will play out. The one thing that is sure is that the Just One More approach works as well for professional athletes as it does for everyday athletes.

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