Stop approaching your sport as a spectator! Players play, coaches coach, administrators administrate, and there can be no overlap in between.

When we competed at the National Duals in college, Coach Zeke Jones reminded us, “We are here to compete, not as spectators.” In between rounds we didn’t stick around to watch Iowa vs Oklahoma State, rather we moved into an isolated room to recover and focus on our next match.

Identify your role first. You are a player, an athlete, a participant. This means you must think like a participant, not as a coach, not as an administrator, and certainly not as a fan.

Don’t get caught up in the “Fan Mentality” when competing.

Fans talk about the importance of the game, streaks, wins, losses, slumps, records, predictions, rankings, and war stories of individuals. They spend countless hours watching matches, posting on Twitter & Facebook, reading articles on the internet, participating in forums, debates, gambling, etc. etc.

Sport Psychology and common sense teach you to focus on things you can control and stop worrying about things you cannot. When you compete, you cannot think about stories, and records, and streaks, etc. You need to stop looking at Facebook/Twitter, predictions, forums, and seedings.

Many people say that these things do not affect them, so they can still be a competitor and fan at the same time. If that is the case, I challenge you to think of past poor performances. Think of at least 3 of them. What were you thinking before and during the competition? If anything had to do with how good or bad your opponent was, this is in part a result of getting involved in the hype. Walk away when friends and teammates start talking about the sport as spectators. Do not let that garbage into your mind.

The “fan mentality” is a difficult habit to break. This will take real work on your part, but the results are well worth it. Stop caring what other people think of you, how they will view your performance, what this all means, records, seedings, predictions, streaks, and stories. Read a book on technique or mindset instead of box scores and newspaper articles. Start thinking like a participant. Destroy your “fan mentality,” and live in your own reality!