Momentum

You hear a lot about momentum in sports, but what does momentum actually mean? Some people seem to think that momentum is an actual thing that carries teams to victory. These people make it more than it actually is. In reality, momentum is just another word for confidence. More specifically, I see momentum as perceived confidence from an outside perspective. 

For example, when a football team ends the 2nd quarter with 14 unanswered points to take a 21-7 lead into halftime, the announcers may say that this team "has all the momentum going into halftime." All this means is that this team should be confident. Their success (14 unanswered points) gives them a reason to be confident going into the second half. It is this confidence, not some magical momentum, that helps teams continue to play well. And for the team with "no momentum," their lack of confidence is what usually causes them to keep losing.

The key thing to remember is that momentum is somewhat subjective. It is just perceived confidence from an outside perspective. You or your team don't have to accept the momentum narratives provided by announcers and fans. Why would you ever accept the narrative that you have no momentum? Adopting this attitude just hurts your confidence and creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. Know that you can control your own level of confidence. If you end the 2nd quarter giving up 14 straight points and head into halftime down 7-21, you don't have to believe that you have "no momentum," as the announcers may be saying. It is not up to the announcers to determine your level of confidence. Even if there are legit reasons for you to lack confidence, you can still think of your own reasons to maintain your confidence. Even if you're losing and you played poorly in the first half, you can still be confident in yourself, and your ability to play better and come back and win. You can believe in your mental toughness. You can believe in your training. You can believe in your skills and talent. You can believe in your teamwork. You can believe in your coaching and strategy. You can call your opponent's bluff, and believe they just got lucky in the first half. If you do this, your confidence will be high and you'll play well in the second half. You'll surprise the announcers who thought you had no momentum.

If you're the team that is winning at halftime, you have to be careful about adopting the momentum narrative. Don't overvalue momentum and make it more than it is. This causes overconfidence and complacency. Yes, you should still use the fact that you're playing well and winning to give yourself confidence, but you still got to know that you'll have to continue giving your best effort for the rest of the game. Know that you can't rely on "momentum" to magically raise you up or a lack of "momentum" to magically keep your opponent down.

In summary, learn how to control your own confidence no matter what the score is or what other people think should be your confidence level. And don't think momentum is something more than it is. These two things will give you a better attitude towards confidence and improve your mindset and performance skills in games.

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