The power of TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More) is a critical component of every person’s development. We are collectivistic beings, and as such, we depend on each other to grow, learn and develop. This can be seen across various fields, at home, in school, on a team, or at work. Relationships that we create can take us a long way and can last a lifetime. Whether they are romantic relationships (a team of two), or a working relationship (a team of however many members), we need each other in order for our skills and knowledge to surface.

In competition, it is critical that we develop a healthy respectful relationship with our opponent. We actually need the other person to play on a high level, so we can become aware of where we stand with our game and how we handle both good and poor performances. This insight is valuable in providing us with the information on what we need to work on to improve and grow. This notion is tightly linked to practice and training. The number one most important element of practice is improvement, and how we become better week to week, even by the smallest margin. Certain perceptual habits we create in practice are the exact habits we will fall back on in competition.

Let us, for a second, consider Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer and how they perceive their own performance. They both talk about pushing each other in matches. They very well know each other’s game, and are aware of their strengths and weaknesses. They are both very good at using their strengths against the other player’s weakness. In other words, if we wish to be successful competitors, we need to be put in similar situations in order to learn and grow. There are two main parts to developing the right perceptive mindset. The first is the big moment management. Being able to acknowledge the importance of a big moment in a performance, on the field, or at work, and being mindful of it, can have an enormous impact on our life. If we are not mindful of it, the largeness of the moment can overwhelm us, induce anxiety, and we can underperform. The second is playing within our personal means. The information we gather from our competition is useful so we can integrate it into our own performance and focus on how we want to perform.

We spend too much time considering the strengths of the competition, focusing on the other person, and not giving enough credit to our own performance and style of play. The emotional response behind this perception can be anxiety provoking along with a series of debilitating thoughts impacting our behavior, also called paralysis by analysis. This external stimulation draws attention away from us and can have a harming effect on our performance and mental and physical health. The critical component of perception is that we allow ourselves to remain in the present moment and to learn from that experience, to not just ‘go through it’ but to rather learn and ‘grow through it’.

The perceptive mindset is a powerful tool that has had a critical impact on my performance and life in general. I find daily pace to be very fast, making me only react, or go through it. Slowing it down and perceptually making sense of it has helped me grow through it instead by being an active participant in my own life.

Need help with the mental aspect of your game? Try Nikola’s Mental Skills Training Program Here and get your head in the game!