“I do not look back at what might have been. If I did that, playing golf would drive me crazy.”
-Tiger Woods, PGA golfer
There are many analogies on mental toughness and an athlete’s ability to recover from mistakes. Here is a great article from a sports psychologist on recovering from mistakes and learning from them.
“DR. G’S COMMENTS: The past can have one of two purposes in your life as an athlete. You can use it constructively to get smarter, strengthen your weaknesses and thus build up your confidence or you can use it self-destructively as a stick to beat yourself down with. The choice is completely yours. Far too many athletes do the latter. They look back at their losses, failures and heartbreaking “could’ve and should’ve beens” and punish themselves for falling short. They take a nasty trip down memory lane and agonize about how close they came, obsessively replaying every torturous mistake and bad break. “If only I’d done this.” “Why couldn’t that call have gone the other way?” “If only the ball had dropped in.” “How could I have missed that shot?” The only thing that you’ll get from this kind of self-flagellation is a very bad headache. By nature, sports are filled with exhilarating highs and crushing lows. Your job is to be able to roll with the punches so-to-speak, to not let the lows completely knock you out. The past has only one constructive purpose in your life. It provides you with an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and thus move closer to your goals. Your job is to feel the disappointment, learn from it, and then let it go. It’s a waste of psychic energy, self-confidence and your valuable passion for the sport to hang out in the past thinking about how things could have been. Your job is to deal with the way things are and then move.”
-Sports Psychologist DR. ALAN GOLDBERG