This week, one of the teams I work with had their playoffs and I decided to have a special team session to talk about the mindset necessary to do well in playoffs. And today I decided to share this idea here.

In Brazilian soccer, it is said that you need to have a certain mindset to do well in championships in the format of a cup – or playoffs. Many good teams don’t do well in these types of championships while others do very well. We see all the time teams that are not technically the best winning these cups. These teams – the ones that do well – tend to have a different intensity and confidence when it comes to these decisive games. And other teams know it. You can see that they believe that they will win, they fight hard in every single play, and they never give up – even if they are way behind.

What I thought that I could do is to translate this playoff mindset to the athletes whom I work with. They may not have the fame of being “cup teams” that some of these soccer teams have, but striving to have some of these characteristics could definitely help. With some help from Twitter, I add some ideas to the material I already had to summarize this playoff mindset. Below you can see the handout:

This handout includes some important aspects of doing well in the playoffs. First, you have to be confident but not arrogant – it doesn’t matter if you would win 99 out of 100 games against this team if the one game you lose is the one in the playoffs. Thus, it’s no good to focus on being better or worse – you just have to focus on playing better that game. Second, having confidence will make a difference in how the other team feels – if you are fighting hard all the time and look confident, the other team will question their own ability to win. Finally, you have to play with high intensity to make psychological pressure – not letting the other team think much and sticking to your game plan is really crucial. Even if you are behind. A team that is behind but is always threatening to catch up (and may eventually do) is very tiresome to play against.

I hope these tips can help you think about your own mindset when playing playoffs. Make sure you don’t focus too much on the result of the game (like the handout stated, “focus on the task”) but use your desire to win as your fuel (not your focus). If you need help, make sure to contact us for support.

Playoff Mindset
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