MOMENTUM IN SPORT
Momentum is a word that YOU HEAR A LOT in the sports world. It is a concept that is shared by athletes, coaches, fans and the media. The idea is that the two opposing teams work to capture the flow of the game. It is as if they wrestle for control of it and only one can possess it.
Game analysis often points to particular plays that changed the tide. These key plays are identified as the moments in which the momentum swings to favor one team and handicap the other.
Plays do not change momentum. The real reason one team catches fire and the other deflates has to do with changes in thinking. The change that occurs is the difference in the way the two teams interpret the play. One team sees it as a sign of good things to come and the other views it as a sign of impending doom.
The change in thinking not only creates the shift, it is the shift. Athletes may still try to focus on their job but they see it through different lenses. Their perspective is different than it was just seconds before.
To go a step further, the whole concept of momentum cripples performance. It implies that outside forces control an athlete’s frame of mind and that this effect continues until another outside force changes it to something else. It implies that the outcome of one play dictates the outcome of the next several plays.
This notion contradicts every peak performance principle. Performance and flow come from the inside, which means they can be created under any circumstance. Situations do not dictate performance. Focusing on the task at hand from the proper prospective or frame of mind does. The only entity truly able to control this process is the athlete himself.
Believing in momentum is also a double-edged sword. Many people are not too concerned as to whether peak performance comes from within or without when everything is going in their team’s favor.
Where it becomes a bigger issue is when things are not going their team’s way. Now, momentum is something outside of the team that has to be overcome. The concept that provided the smooth sailing also created the raging storm.
Furthermore, the sports world hails consistency as a valuable aspect of peak performance. Momentum makes no contribution to consistent execution. To the contrary, it is the epitome of peaks and valleys. Momentum is always thought of as up and down. It is curious that people who desire consistency so desperately depend on something this unreliable.
Being on a roll is about being in the zone, a place that exists within each of us. The outcome of a play is not the key that opens the gate, focusing on the task at hand and maintaining the proper frame of reference are all that are required to enter. This means that peak performance is based on making adjustments to what athletes concentrate on and how they view it. Developing these skills and exercising this internal control spells the end of momentum.