Sports Spectrum Weekly

Daily Devotional: Friday, August 5 - Dealing With Bad Shots

“We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.” — 2 Corinthians 4:8-9

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While I was watching a PGA Tour golf tournament a while back, one of the commentators was talking about a young player who had been in the mix going into the final day yet had a poor round and was slipping down the leaderboard. And something the commentator said about the young guy’s play stuck with me: “He needs to learn how to recover and bounce back from bad shots faster.”

Bounce back from bad shots.

In sports and in life, it’s easy to be positive when things are going well, but as soon as things begin to crumble a bit, the attitude and belief slip away. It becomes harder and harder to pick yourself back up and hit the mental reset button. Many a game or match has been lost by a single point that the athlete let stay with them too long. Errant shots can get into our head easily if we let them, wreaking havoc on our confidence and negatively affecting our performance the rest of the way. We end up second-guessing ourselves and ignoring our intuition.

Adversity happens to every single one of us. We all hit moments in our lives when things suddenly get hard. When personal flaws affect our attitude or performance, when the behavior of others hurts, when dreams fall through, when life simply deals you a bad hand. Whatever the situation, nobody gets through life without experiencing some painful times along the way where a “bad shot” happens and we’re faced with the choice of how we’re going to respond.

Scientific experts talk about how our brains are designed to wire themselves around whatever we think about most, good or bad. Which means that we become what we focus on, and we have tremendous ability to affect our perspective by the messages we repeatedly tell ourselves. We physically learn to train ourselves to look for the positive or negative, depending on what we do with that adversity, and when faced with bad shots, how we respond to them will have a direct impact on us going forward.

If you’re always getting down on yourself when you make a mistake, in sports or in life, then after a while you’ll start to anticipate it happening again. When it does, you’ll be like, “Yup. There it is.” And then your whole attitude and game will go downhill. On the other hand, if you are going into things with the attitude that adversity is not only a given but also an opportunity, you’ll hit a rough patch and then say, “OK, let’s turn this around now. Get back on track with the next play.”

Even though adversity is hard, don’t be the kind of person who is always letting it derail your attitude. Use tough times as a chance to grow, and learn how to take your thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) so you can stay in the fight. Bad shots happen to all of us. Just remember there’s grace and forgiveness for that, and just as God puts it behind and moves forward, so can you.

— Katherine Singer

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