Athletes with an excuse mentality fear negative outcomes and make excuses to avoid responsibility. According to Patrick Cohn, PhD, sports psychologist and founder of Peak Performance Sports, an excuse mentality results from allowing circumstances to dictate your actions instead of taking control of them.
The effects of an athlete with an excuse mentality can ripple throughout a team and disrupt the dynamics between teammates. Keeping the team accountable to one another is key in teaching athletes how to take responsibility and avoid the trap of making excuses.
Here are four practical tips for combating the excuse mentality on your team:
Focus on Strengths
To encourage athletes to take responsibility, Dr. Cohn recommends focusing on their strengths.
“Focusing on strengths will help you see what you can do, right now, to turn things around instead of getting stuck on what has already happened,” he says.
For example, when a basketball player is struggling to make baskets, help them focus on making great passes instead of making excuses about it being tough to score.