What Did You Learn From Last Year?

blog what did you learn from last year by david charlton

What Did You Learn From Last Year?

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I want to make next year my best yet

Sometimes no matter how much time and effort you put in.  How hard you train or practice.  Or how much you prepare for matches or events; it just doesn’t come together on the day.   You struggle to get into the game or you lack rhythm and timing.  It can be hugely frustrating, and if goes on for a prolonged period it can be very annoying and worrying, going on to negatively impact your confidence and motivation.  You can start asking yourself the question “what is the point?”  You can feel helpless and the whole world can feel like it’s crashing down around you.

When you look back at the last 12 months did you have many of these moments?

The reality is that you have two options for the coming year. 

Option one:

You can feel sad and angry at how you have performed, you can lay the blame on your manager or coaches, your equipment or your team-mates.  You can also blame injuries or illness, spectators for distracting you and keep holding on to these unhelpful emotions for a while longer.  

However, what will doing so prove? How much will it cost you if you continue thinking this way?  Will it impact your relationships with friends and family?  How will it affect your levels of motivation and your focus come the new year?

Option 2:

Feeling sad and upset at how you have been performing is normal.  Clearly, it shows that you care.  That you want to do better and feel that you can.  So how do you move on…

You can choose to review your technical, tactical or physical methods that you used.  As many athletes and coaches will do.  And you may wish to look outside the box for other reasons why too.  Perhaps considering your mental approach during this past year.

So which option are you going to choose? 

I’d look at option 2 if I was you!  But where do I start I hear you say.  I’ve never been shown how to reflect.

A good starting point would be to get a pen and paper out and empty your mind of all of your worries and doubts.  You can do this by following a 15 step process that I laid out last year where you look back at:

  1. What went well.
  2. The winning feeling.
  3. What you enjoyed the most.
  4. Where you failed.
  5. Regrets that you have.
  6. What you learned.
  7. What you are going to do differently.
  8. What you will continue doing.
  9. What you need more of.
  10. What you will stop doing.
  11. What you will start doing.
  12. The position of last years goals.
  13. What you want to achieve in the coming 12 months.
  14. What it will feel like when you achieve those goals.
  15. What it will look like when you achieve the goals.

For more on this process check out this article:

Before you get started with your pen and paper and answer those questions however you may be interested in a recent podcast that I’ve released which will help you think outside of the box and appreciate different factors that can contribute to athletes not performing to their potential.

It includes 10 common explanations why athletes fail to perform under pressure and transfer their skills from practice to competitive situations:

  • The design of practice or training doesn’t initiate a confident mindset under pressure.
  • The design of practice or training isn’t challenging enough.
  • A lack of mental preparation, when the going gets tough.
  • No strategy to focus on the present moment.
  • A mental approach during your warm up’s that means your team is one nil down or you are +1 before you even start the match or event.
  • A failure to seek the learning from previous mistakes.
  • Performance rituals or pre-shot routines that are not thought out and inconsistent.
  • No or little awareness of your core values, so they go on to have an adverse effect on your productivity and effectiveness in practice or training.
  • A large focus on outcome and results.
  • No thoughts about creating a psychologically safe culture, with ego’s getting in the way.

To view more detailed notes from the episode

Now that you’ve listened to the podcast episode I’d like to think that it has opened your eyes to simply viewing things in a black and white way and you should have a greater understanding of what contributes to your downfall and what you can do to make some shifts in the coming year.

If you want further support in this area, please do consider signing up to the Mental Edge for regular tips and advice to help you.

If you found this article helpful, please share it with your friends, team-mates, parents or coaches.  

You can also join our online community – THE SPORTS PSYCHOLOGY HUB – for regular Sports Psychology tips, podcasts, motivation and support.

Best Wishes 

David Charlton

Global Sports Psychologist located near Newcastle Upon Tyne, UK and willing to travel Internationally.  

Managing Director – Inspiring Sporting Excellence and Founder of The Sports Psychology Hub.  With over 10 years experience supporting athletes, coaches, parents and teams to achieve their goals, quickly.  

T: +44 7734 697769

E: [email protected]

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