Great Expectations?

by Matt Cuccaro, Ed.M.

Expectations – are they helpful when it comes to performance? Professional golfers often comment after shooting a low round that, “I went out there with no expectations today”. But is this the truth? Did they actually have no expectations set for themselves on a day when their livelihood and millions of dollars were at stake? The following is mindset which many encourage. Don’t fall for it, or what you will come to expect is mediocrity.

Expectations junk

I encourage my athletes to have expectations set for every season, competition and practice session. What these expectations are, and how they are framed, however, tend to have a great influence on an individual’s motivation and performances.

Athletes who maximize their ability set expectations for themselves which are effort-based. For the golfer looking to shoot a solid score, instead of heading out to the course with a number in mind, focus more on a skill or mindset to carry you through the ever-changing competitive landscape. Examples might include – embrace the challenge of every shot, engage in a vivid target to lead every swing, feel little tension in the arms/hands stepping up each ball, or take a deep breath to relax after/between each shot. These types of expectations empower the athlete to take charge of the situation and better manage the chaos involved in highly competitive endeavors. The best performers lean on effort-based expectations to lead them to results with less anxiety, fear and distractions.

The next time you have a meaningful performance on the horizon, set your own great expectations which encourage a mindset of #PlayNowScorekeepLater for greater motivation, engagement and success.

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