Anyone who participated in sports at any level understands that sometimes you’re feeling it, and sometimes you aren’t.
A duffer can make a hole in one with a lucky shot and then take a 12 on the next hole. Or the greatest quarterback of all time, Tom Brady, can lose track of the downs and cost his team a chance to win a game. An NBA all-star can cost his team a game by missing a free throw.
When something like that happens, coaches stress mental toughness. Put the mistake behind you and move on. Most high-level athletes can do that, but not always. It’s no crime when they can’t.
The vast majority of people grasped that when gymnast Simone Biles withdrew from spotlight Olympic events she was widely favored to win. Her stunning move came less than a month after the top-ranked women’s tennis player in the world, Naomi Osaka, withdrew from Wimbledon.
Both elite athletes said they made their decisions to protect their mental health.