I hereby coin the term “Spiral of Suck.” This phrase refers to the downward spiral of a person when a single mistake feeds on itself irreparably, leading one on a feedback loop ever downwards.
On the racquetball court I have experienced this spiral of suck a few times. It starts with a simple mistake. Perhaps a poor flick of the wrist, or maybe tipping a shot with the edge of the racquet when you know you should have waited for it and lined up a better shot. In any case, it starts off small, but it bugs you. You know you should have done better. You know exactly what you did wrong, and you’re a little angry at yourself. But you’re not focusing on the game so much. You want a kill shot that’ll bring you back into the game. There’s no way you’re going to get that kill shot now. You’ll slam the ball and it’ll go any which way. The opponent capitalizes on it and gets more and more calm, making you run more, doing the shots you so dearly want to be doing. And you get angrier and angrier at yourself and you suck more and more. It’s the spiral of suck.
Getting out of the spiral is near impossible. My only solution now is to remove myself from the situation. If I can recognize the spiral early enough, I can get out without being angry at myself for the rest of the night. Ultimately, I want to be able to brush off a mistake immediately, but that takes a lot of practice, and I really don’t want to make enough mistakes that I’m good at brushing them off.