Staying Cool

Sports are exciting. Tremendous athletes making big plays; the cheering crowds packing huge arenas. It's easy to get caught up in the atmosphere. But one of the most important things for an athlete to remember is to keep calm and play the game the right way. Good players can make the right play whether it's during an exhibition game or a tense playoff matchup.

Starting Hot: The pro hockey season is only a few games old. Some teams have been playing well; others have not. The New York Rangers, for example, won five out of their first six games. That's a great start, but players and fans have to remember that it is just that - a start. Many Rangers fans might start thinking that the team has a chance to go far in the playoffs. That might be true, but there is still a long, long way to go in the regular season. Teams play 82 games between October and April. Even after a hot start, players have to remember that they still have a lot of work to do. They can't get too excited and have to keep playing hard.

Big Games: In baseball, the playoffs are going strong. With just four teams remaining, baseball is getting closer and closer to crowning a World Series champion. That means that every game is full of nail-biting pressure. Fans sit on the edges of their seats, hearts-racing. Managers pace up and down the dugout steps. Every pitch is watched by millions of fans all over the world. The players that succeed are the players that stay calm. They don't try to swing too hard, they don't try to make plays that exceed their ability. Successful post-season players continue to do their jobs and don't get caught up in the crazy playoff atmosphere.

Lessons: Every day, athletes face situations that might get them excited, anxious or sad. The best way to deal with these situations is with a clear, calm head. If athletes keep their cool and remain composed, they can do their best to make the right play.

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