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Teams manage major comebacks regularly in the sports world. They can also dominate by outscoring their opponents by a big margin. This is where momentum plays an important role.

Psychological momentum is a perception athletes have that changes their levels of performance and their behavior. For example, if you win your first tennis match, you’ll feel confident and will likely improve your performance during the next game.

A 2016 research report published in Frontiers in Psychology suggests that momentum is manifested in three patterns of outcomes:

  • Frequency effect — a person who accumulates more momentum through task performance
  • Duration effect — a person who sustains momentum for longer periods of time
  • Intensity effect — a person whose intensity is higher as they build momentum

Someone who is higher in any of these effects, or a combination of them, is more likely to succeed. You develop a sense of confidence, competence, and even a sense of superiority. However, if you don’t develop these perceptions, you can’t manifest the frequency, duration, and intensity effect.

You can see how momentum is one of the biggest advantages in a sports game, However, it can also help you during your search for sports jobs.

Here are the job search strategies you need to implement in order to build momentum:

Set Clear Long-Term Goals

Sports teams have specific long-term goals. For example, every manager in baseball aims to win the World Series. That’s a big goal to have in mind, but it helps them persevere through the tough times.

The season is 162 games long. The league’s best teams often lose at least 60 of those games. That’s a lot of loss and disappointment over the course of approximately six months. However, with a clear goal in mind, the team understands that success sometimes requires setbacks and losses.

Think about where you want to take your career in the long term. For example, you want to become the CFO of a sports media company. This is a great goal to have in mind, but you need to be realistic.

Getting to the C-suite takes at least 10 to 15 years, and that journey often requires a lot of education. With this goal in mind, you will embrace the setbacks, like getting rejected by MBA programs, failing to earn the promotion, or not getting the entry-level role with your dream company.

Negative momentum will occasionally get in your way, and goals are your best motivation during those times. Stay focused on aligning your day-to-day with the long term.

Establish Daily Tasks

As a shooting guard, you’re responsible for scoring points every game. This is a specific, consistent goal you have every day. In order to be your best, you give yourself daily drills and practice routines to hone your shooting skills.

When you’re looking for sports jobs, you need to do the same. Treat your search like a job and build a daily task list for yourself. If you have an interview to prepare for, assign time for researching the company and brushing up on your stories you want to share with the interviewer.

Align daily ‘wins’ that you can achieve by taking action. This might include conducting research to determine your salary range, tailoring your resume for specific positions, or signing up for volunteering opportunities.

As you accomplish these tasks, you build your confidence and begin to feel more prepared to land sports jobs. This is how you achieve the frequency effect.

Call Timeouts

The clock is running down and your opponent still has the lead. You just got the ball back from an interception, but your last run play lost you four yards. The crowd goes wild as they root for the defense to stop your drive and claim victory.

You need a timeout.

A strategically placed call for time is essential in sports competitions. It disrupts the flow of momentum and can help you regain your footing. Your search for sports jobs is no different.

Schedule rest and regrouping time throughout your strategy. For example, you recently botched an interview but got a call from another potential employer who wants to bring you in. Instead of jumping in right away, schedule for a few days out to give yourself a chance to rest. Then, you can reflect on what went wrong and better prepare for the next one.

Focus on sustaining your momentum and reaching the duration effect. Break out of the negative cycle to reset and create more wins for a long period of time.

Establish Incentives

When baseball teams win the pennant and advance through the postseason, they often celebrate with champagne showers and small ceremonies. This doesn’t mean they’re done pursuing their mission. They’re treating themselves to some fun before focusing on moving forward to their ultimate objective — the World Series championship.  

Celebrate and treat yourself with each win along the way. For example, you wrote your first post on your sports blog. After you share it with your network, give yourself a pat on the back. Establish incentives that are meaningful to you.

If you love hitting the driving range, use that as a reward for successes. The next time you get a phone interview or have a great coffee meeting with your mentor, get a bucket of balls and work on your swing.

As you embark on your search for sports jobs, determine what you can control. You don’t have a say in whether or not the hiring manager likes you, but you can control your behavior during the interview. You can’t influence how long a job posting is up, but you control whether or not you procrastinate in applying to it.

Most importantly, you can control how you react to negative momentum, which is vital to your success. If getting ignored by your dream employer derails your motivation, your job search will take much longer and be far less enjoyable. Focus on creating positive momentum by using these strategies today.

How are you creating momentum in your search for sports jobs? Share in the comments!

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