Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Peak performance of players

  1. Dec 15, 2007 #1
    Hi all,

    I have this stituation. Our favourite football team normally play very well. But recently, when they attended a tournament and they lost all the games ! They even lost to a team that they had never lost before. Their form was very weak at the time. I am not sure if there is a word or phrase in English that describes the situation. My mother tongue is not English. Can anyone help me?

    Last edited: Dec 15, 2007
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 15, 2007 #2


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    In English, uncharacteristic poor play under pressure is often called "choking", as in "we really choked during the tournament."
  4. Dec 15, 2007 #3
    Thank you for your help.
    So, can I have one more. If my team is normally not so good, but at the tournament, they play very well, what word or phase can we use in the case?
  5. Dec 15, 2007 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Sometimes people say "they are playing above their game". Sometimes, teams play poorly when they are not challenged, and play surprisingly well when they're up against a tough opponent, and people say "they're playing to the level of their competition".
  6. Dec 15, 2007 #5
    I am sorry for not having explained clearly. It is in fact not the scenario I would like to describe. Say, a team or a player can play very well at this time and rather badly at other time. His form can be up and down (around the average). So if he attends a tournament or a match at his up level (good for him), how could we say about this?

    PS. even this scenario is not so clear to many people in my country so the phase in my mother tongue is still somewhat controversial. I hope this must have been used more often in English.
  7. Dec 15, 2007 #6
    Well, in cricket at least if a player plays well (which is not always of course), we say "that guy is in good form/nick/touch" and " ... in bad/poor form" for the opposite scenario.
    For a team on the whole, we say "the team is going through a lean/purple patch" to indicate bad/good results. Lean/purple patch can be used for individual players as well.
  8. Dec 15, 2007 #7


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Sometimes teams or individual players are described as being hot or cold (good or bad), as in the phrase "the team is really hot tonight" (they're playing very well). It can be applied to parts of a person's game, too. Let's say that a basketball forward is doing well inside, grabbing rebounds, etc, but is shooting poorly: an announcer might say #14 is really hot on the boards tonight, but his shooting is cold. Is that closer to what you want?
  9. Dec 15, 2007 #8
    Thank you Arunbg and Turbo. Your explanations are quite close, but not really right the case. In the situations you described, a player or a team can be very good in the game (much more than his ability) but it is not known in advance, it is quite a surprise. In my case, the manager or the fans may have known that, at this time (the time the tournament taking place), his form (or the team) is very good (or bad) in comparison to normal. So we started (about 3 years ago) to say the phase : he is getting his peak performance this time (in my language) or in opposite case, he is out of his peak performance for the game... I am not sure if there are similar ones in English.
  10. Dec 15, 2007 #9
    Not quite sure what you are asking, but usually the term "form" refers to a series of results for an individual/team over a period of time. So if a player/team is "in the best of forms"/"in prime form", it usually means that they are expected to do well, not as a surprise. Same with purple/lean patch.
  11. Dec 15, 2007 #10
    "Performs under pressure"
    is similar to what you're asking. When the competition is tough they perform their best.
  12. Dec 15, 2007 #11


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    I think it's called 'losing your focus'. Some players allow themselves to be distracted by pressure or the surroundings and just don't really get into that state of mind where they can see the game as fast as they should.

    On the other hand, pressure or tournaments brings out the best in some players so that they really become focused on the flow of the game. They see and interpret things faster and can anticipate what's about to happen faster than the other players.

    And, then again, if the team has to travel to a different town for the weekend in order to play in the tournament, some players have so much fun going out on the town that they're just not at their peak, physically, for the next day's game.

    Your best players have a way to work through the days they have trouble getting their focus. For example, playing tough defense might get a player into the flow of the game (a good portion of defense is just hard work - something the player can directly control even on an off day). Your worst players all have something that throws them hopelessly off their game - once players on the other teams find out what it is, the player's toast unless he learns to focus in spite of the distraction.

    It's not all that different than taking tests. Some days you're really on and some days just aren't a good day to take a test. Your best students learn how to work through the bad days. Instead of panicking, they do something that gets them into the flow of things, like solving the easy problems first or some other technique. The biggest difference is that it's hard to suffer a season ending knee injury while taking a test.
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2007
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook