Last night the Gonzaga Bulldogs defeated the South Carolina Gamecocks to advance to the championship game of the NCAA tournament. It was an exciting and competitive game, but the Bulldogs stayed focused on their preparation and their process.
Nigel Williams-Goss, a junior guard for the Bulldogs, stated in a post-game interview: “We’ve just been so dialed in to the next game, to the next practice, to whatever that next step is and we just haven’t focused on the outside noise… that’s really prepared us for now.”
This present-focus and attention to the process seemed to be a theme for the team. During the game, the Gamecocks went on a 14-0 run, prompting Bulldogs Head Coach, Mark Few, to call a time out and bring his guys in. When asked what Few said to the team during the timeout, Williams-Goss said Few advised them to “Stick to game plan and continue to execute for 40 minutes… If we just stick to our process, we’d have a great chance to be successful.”
Paying attention to your preparation and the process of playing – rather than the outcome of winning or losing – helps you feel confident and focused as you compete. Even playing at the highest level of collegiate basketball, Williams-Goss demonstrates that this kind of process focus helps players handle the pressure and pay attention to the task at hand.
You can do this successfully by following these two steps:
Take pride in your preparation. Set challenging, yet realistic goals and break them down into smaller goals to work toward each day. This will help you engage in more deliberate, focused practice. Choose a self-talk phrase or mantra to say to yourself before you practice that helps you feel confident and motivated. And don’t forget to pay attention to your nutrition, hydration, and sleep habits.
Trust that preparation and focus on the process. When game time comes, feel confident that your focused efforts in practice have prepared you to meet the challenge of the moment. Use your mantra, “stick to the process”, and let it flow.