Elite athletes must play mental game to move past mistakes

Published: Feb. 11, 2022 at 5:49 PM EST
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - Skiing superstar Mikaela Shiffrin got back on the mountain at the Olympics and got a top 10 finish in the Super-G.

It was a stark difference from earlier in the week when she didn’t finish in two other events. The best skier in the world was upset and confused by her own performance after those races.

Sports psychologist Dr. Bob Rotella said it can be tough for elite athletes to forgive themselves for mistakes.

“The inability to forget is infinitely more devastating. The inability to remember what you’re asking. And so you have to be really good at forgetting. And so we talk all the time about, you have to forgive yourself for a bad performance, so you can forget it, so you can free it up and let go on the next one. It doesn’t mean you don’t take a little time. Like when she was sitting on the hill, I mean, she was obviously heartbroken and devastated and she’s probably going, what did I do wrong? How did I mess up? And then by the time she got up, I promise you, she saw for the next race and thinking about all the great rates that she had and what do I need to do this great in my next race?” Rotella said.

Watch the video to see our Ike Bendavid’s full conversation with Rotella.

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