Why winners win - it's an inside-your-head job!

- If you watch sports or play sports, you can see that some days are just “off days.” No matter what the player does, it doesn’t go well. It may seem as though it’s a cycle of losses or a whole season where the team just isn’t able to perform. If you’ve played sports you may understand what happens during these cycles of losses. One person’s bad game can soon affect a whole team, a whole school, town or community at large. Everyone begins feeling as though they’re defeated.

The opposite happens when you’re winning. You begin feeling more confident, knowing you’ll win again and expecting it. It’s in the expectation of winning that winning really does happen. When you expect something to happen internally you’re preparing for it as well. You’re changing your habits to reinforce winning even though you may not be aware of it.

The difference in winners and losers is based on several emotional factors that when taken apart can be more easily understood and improved upon. You can build a winning team, but not if you continue practicing losing habits.
1. Winners show up on time, and studies show there is less tardiness or absenteeism on a winning team or winning person than there are among losers. Winners also stick around to engage with each other more and that feeling of belonging builds on success.
2. Confidence raises endorphins and winners are in a better mental mood. Winners run the risk of playing even when hurt due to their feel good mood.
3. Winners have fewer distractions in their head and can focus. Losers can’t focus because their mind is full of self-deprecating thoughts or regrets of a bad play. If you can’t focus, you won’t play well.
4. Winners are more open to criticism because they know they can win and they know their game will improve if they go over every detail of their play. Losers get really defensive, and feel criticized or defeated with criticism because they themselves are criticizing themselves in their own head.
5. Winning teams are stable, practicing small changes until they become routine. Losing teams react and they react by trying new things all at once, adding an element of ambiguity to each player’s sense of mastery. It’s impossible to be confident if you aren’t sure of the next play or haven’t practiced it enough.
6. Winning teams take on the confidence of the community and world, which is a feedback loop to building confidence. Losing teams lose fans, media attention and respect. That feeling reflects on the general mood of the team, school, and city. Fans fuel motivation and that motivation fuels confidence. 
7. Players who win feel more in control of their own destiny. They have self –determination and this is reflected in the way they play. Losers get more attention from their negative actions. They end up in courts, special help committees, and taking time out of practice to meet with a variety of people trying to help. These efforts distract the player’s focus and physical training necessary to play effectively on game day.

Winners do become losers if they become arrogant, over confident, or meet up with their superior in skill and mental focus. However, you can train a team to be an emotional winning team if you stabilize, encourage, practice focus skills and make your team about mutual respect and support of each other.

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