Paralysis By Over-Analysis
Updated: Sep 22
In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing. The next best thing is the wrong thing. The worst thing you can do is nothing.
- Theodore Roosevelt
Paralysis by over-analysis. This is where an athlete can get stuck with indecision because he/she floods his/her brain with too much information. This overflow of information causes athletes to freeze or get stuck.
Here are tips to overcome paralysis by over-analysis:
a. Practice is for thinking and creating a mental checklist of things to analyze and improve. Competition is
a time for just action and reaction, and priming your body and mind to perform.
b. Identify your choices and situations. For a golfer, it’s surveying the fairway before a shot. For a
basketball player it’s being able to take the right shot vs pass it off in certain moments, be it in
transition or settled offense.
c. Outcomes, consider the possible outcomes that include best, average, and worst case scenarios.
d. Success rate, create a rough percentage of success for each outcome.
e. Greatest value, determine which outcomes have the highest percentage of success.
f. Commit, train those best case scenarios and skills, in practice, so you can learn to trust it in competition.
g. Let go of past successes and failures, start fresh each time you practice and perform.
h. Reminder, each moment in competition and training presents you with unique circumstances.
Therefore, there is never a perfect solution. The expectation isn’t to find the perfect outcome, it’s to
make the best choice in the moment.
i. Learn by doing. You can only learn what is a good vs bad decision by committing to do it.
So choose and do.
j. Analyze, after competition analyze the results. Recognize which decisions were good decisions, areas to improve, and things to avoid in the future.
j. Self esteem vs self achievement. Your performances don’t define you as a person. Competition is a measure of your achievement or how you performed. Think of it as a measuring stick of how far you’ve come and how far you need to go.
In the end, the goal is to train in practice and trust in competition.