The Arrow Mindset

Mar 09, 2021

Do you have an Arrow UP or Arrow DOWN mindset?

I was speaking with Mike Way, elite coach of the Harvard men’s squash team who has coached many top ranked players and won multiple collegiate championships.

Coach Way uses a ladder where an arrow is placed to indicate player rankings for an upcoming match.

If your arrow is pointed downward, it means you're the higher ranked player.

If your arrow is pointed upward, you're ranked lower than your opponent and have less to lose in the match. As a result, you’ll likely play more relaxed with more freedom.

The higher ranked player can feel more tension because
they're the top dog and everyone is coming to get them.

This applies to most sports.

A lower ranked team or individual in the standings often plays looser and with less stress.

And if the higher ranked team/person isn’t careful, they'll all too often succumb to the mental pressure and make silly mistakes. You often see it happen in basketball, tennis, football.

Which way is the arrow pointed?

Can you mentally change the direction in your mind to play more freely?

High performers can even get to a place where the arrows are dissolved and are able to play full out in the present moment.

It's a trainable skill.



Todd H. Corbin, CPC, is an avid runner and sports enthusiast, mindfulness teacher, motivational speaker, certified coach, and co-author of Mindfulness for Student-Athletes: A Workbook to Help Teens Reduce Stress and Enhance Performance. For more info visit,


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