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Here’s Why You Should Stop Wasting Halftime Minutes Complaining About The Other Team

May 10, 2024, By Jenn Ireland | Courtesy of

Picture this. The halftime whistle just blew. You’re hot, tired, thirsty, and mentally exhausted from dealing with a tough opponent who is kicking your team’s butt at the moment. On top of that, this one girl you’re up against keeps jabbing you in the rib cage with her elbows, and you’ve just about had it.

You come off the field enraged, thinking how she’s literally the world’s most annoying player. You immediately find a teammate to vent to and start telling her every detail about how this player is infuriating you, complete with reenacted demonstrations about exactly how and where she’s poking you and what you will say to her the next time she tries it.

Can we pause for a moment–WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!

You are freely choosing to give away your time, energy, and focus to this opponent you don’t seem to like. Why?! Venting may feel good, sure, but it’s a terrible use of your time, especially when under the restriction of the halftime clock. It’s not constructive, it’s not helpful, and it doesn’t set you up for a successful second half.

You always have limited mental capacity, especially in the middle of a tough match. So why are you wasting it on her, on the opponent? Why aren’t you using what mental energy you have to help yourself and help your team?


Respond, not react

You are reacting, not responding. Reacting is when your emotions take over, and you act without thinking. No intentional choices are being made. You feel an emotion, and you just do or say whatever comes up. There’s no filter, and it is bad sportsmanship, even if the opponent doesn’t hear you talking about them.

Responding is when you CHOOSE your action. It’s staying calm and composed and managing your emotions. You still feel the feeling, but you PICK what you want to do with it. The emotion still shows up (anger, frustration, etc.), but you cultivate your response instead of letting it be in charge and do what it wants.

Wasting your halftime minutes complaining about the other team is reacting. And it’s an extremely damaging habit to get into.

First off, it wastes precious time. Halftime is time that you need to analyze, examine and make changes so that you can go back out there and play better. Which is ultimately what you want, right? Do you really want to just complain about the opponent, or do you want to BEAT the opponent? Think about that.

If you come off the field at halftime and spend all your time listing how they are annoying the heck out of you, you accomplish nothing. And you’ve actually HELPED the opponent because they’ve gotten into your head, and that’s EXACTLY what they want. They want to get in your head so that you spend all your time thinking about them and none of your time thinking about the things that will help you beat them.

By spending all your time complaining about them, you are playing right into their trap. But it doesn’t have to be this way; you don’t have to play their game.


Control the controllable

Believe it or not, YOU are in control of what you choose to think about. There is nobody else making that choice for you. If this is how you spend your halftime, you are CHOOSING this. You are CHOOSING to reminisce and let this frustration and anger take over your body and mind.

If you choose to spend your halftime minutes complaining about the other team, you WILL go back on that field no better than you left it. You will have accomplished nothing except pushing yourself further down the rabbit hole.

When you allow your thoughts to be consumed by the other team, you leave no room for anything else. Like what? Like all the things you need to think about and do if you want to play great! Things like game awareness, scanning and gathering information, decision making, leading, communicating, making runs off the ball, creating space, etc. All THOSE things.

You also miss the important stuff during the break. The halftime talk your coach is giving. The encouragement from teammates. The tips and problem-solving collaboration that everyone is engaging in together to try and remedy the situation and come out stronger.

When you spend your halftime minutes complaining about the other team or reminiscing about it in your head, you’re losing valuable time to figure out adjustments and come up with a better game plan. You’re also missing out on the opportunity to mentally and physically reset. Hydrate, rest, stretch, do some breathwork to regain focus, etc. These things are all controllable. So are your thoughts.

What is not controllable? The opponent. The opponent will always do what they are going to do; you can’t change that.

You can change how you manage your emotions and how you respond to the situation. You can change how you show up for your teammates in a helpful, engaging way. You can change how you protect your inner space and don’t get easily rattled. You change your mental toughness. You can choose not to complain about the other team and instead focus on yourself and what you can control.

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