Think About The Percentages

One mental strategy that you can use to help your mindset in games is what I call "thinking about the percentages." Here are a few examples to explain what this means.

If a basketball player misses a free-throw, instead of getting too emotional, he could stay composed by thinking about his normal free-throw percentage. He could think, "It's OK. I normally make 80% of my free-throw attempts. This missed free-throw is just one of the two that I'll miss out of 10 shots on average. If I continue to try my best, I will start making more free-throws and reach closer to my normal percentage." This type of thinking greatly helps you stay rational, stay calm, stay confident, manage your emotions, and maintain a peak performance mindset.

The same basketball player, after missing 4 free-throws in a row, could also think, "It's OK, I'm about to make 20 in a row to maintain my 80% average!"

Here is another example of how thinking about percentages helps your mindset. A tennis player may have a great point where he hits 10 great shots but still ends up losing the point. Instead of getting angry, he could think, "Even though I lost that point, I hit some great shots. If I keep playing like that, I will win these types of rallies at least 7 times out of 10 against this opponent!"

Thinking about the percentages is about trusting the process. Know that if you keep focusing on the process, things will work out for you in the end.

However, thinking about percentages can sometimes hurt your mindset. For example, assuming you normally shoot 80% at the free-throw line, and you make 8 in a row, you may think, "I'm probably going to miss my next two, since I normally only make 80%" Thinking this way doesn't help you. You might as well think, "I'm shooting great today! I can improve my percentage today!"

But thinking about percentages isn't just about improving confidence. It's also about helping you play smart strategically. If you know that you only make very deep three-pointers about 20% of the time, then you probably shouldn't be shooting much of them in games, or else your efficiency will decrease. Thinking about the percentages helps prevent overconfidence and keeps you from taking unnecessary risks.

Thinking about percentages can be a great way to improve your mindset. But remember, you can't really use this strategy if you don't even know your stats. This is why it's important to track your stats and know what you're good at, what you're bad at, and which strategies are most effective. After learning your stats, think about how you can use them to improve your self-talk and mindset in games.