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How the FUDGE to move on after mistakes!

In the world of sports, mistakes are as common as any play. Even the most skilled players fumble the ball, miss shots, or make defensive errors. However, what truly sets apart the greats from the rest is not the absence of mistakes but rather their ability to recover swiftly and effectively.

Imagine this scenario: you're on the court, the game is intense, and you make a crucial mistake—a missed shot, a turnover, or a defensive lapse. In that moment, it's easy to let frustration take over. But instead of dwelling on the mistake, you can employ a strategic mental recovery process known as the 4 F's.


First, there's "FUDGE." It's natural to feel frustrated or disappointed after making a mistake. Take a moment to acknowledge your feelings, perhaps with a silent four-letter word. Allow yourself to release some steam, but remember to maintain your composure.


Next comes "FIX." Mentally replay the situation, but this time, visualize yourself executing the play flawlessly. Identify what went wrong and determine how you can do better next time. Use the mistake as a learning opportunity to improve your game. Most plays attempt to do this on the court resulting in more mistakes, so focus on executing it in your head first.


Then, it's time to "FORGET." Dwelling on past mistakes only distracts you from the present moment. Find a way to let go of the error, whether it's through a personal metaphor or a simple mental reset. Clear your mind and focus on the task at hand.


Finally, "FOCUS" on the present. Shift your attention back to the game and prepare for what comes next. Concentrate on the immediate situation and remind yourself of what's important now. Stay engaged and ready to make a positive impact on the court.

Just like any skill, mastering the 4 F's takes practice. Start by incorporating them into your training sessions, especially during drills where mistakes are inevitable. Over time, you'll develop your own personalized routine that helps you bounce back stronger after any misstep.

Remember, it's not about avoiding mistakes altogether—it's about how you respond to them that defines success in a game.

Source: Adapted from Owens, D., & Kirschenbaum, D. (1998). Smart golf: How to simplify and score your mental game. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

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