I have mentioned numerous times, the quote that was told to me years ago, “Sports is the greatest theatre in the world, everyone knows their part, but no one knows what will happen.” This past weekend several teams that were supposed to win didn’t. Did they lose because of overconfidence? Did they lose because they were outplayed? Did they lose because they got behind and then got too tense and couldn’t play to their abilities? Or did they lose because they just didn’t believe enough in themselves? Why do upsets happen? In my opinion there are several reasons. A lot of it has to do with the four key words I believe are the keys to success. They are preparation, focus, attitude and confidence. Four key upsets happened. The Texas Rangers beat the New York Yankees. The San Francisco Giants beat the Philadelphia Phillies. Both of these winners advanced to the World Series. Both were considered underdogs in almost every betting pool. In college football, the Missouri Tigers beat the Oklahoma Sooners, the team ranked number one in the BCS poll. And for the first time in school history, the Iowa State Cyclones defeated the Texas Longhorns, in Austin, Texas. Texas was considered an overwhelming favorite in that game. In the Texas/Iowa State game, Texas head coach, Mack Brown was quoted afterwards stating that he was concerned before the game because of the overconfidence displayed by his players. He was worried that they took it for granted that they would win, especially after beating nationally ranked Nebraska last week in Lincoln, Nebraska. I believe upsets happen because of three key reasons. First, and quite commonly, Mack Brown’s concerns happen too often. If a team has had some consistent success, they often feel it will continue and take it for granted that just because they have been winning. Typically, these teams take their preparation for granted and don’t continue to do the things they were doing while they were winning. They often times assume they will win just because of who they are. Second, when a favored team falls behind in a game, they will often start to get tense and uptight. The team’s focus is not strong and their attitude turns negative. When this happens, players can begin to point fingers at each other and the leadership can disappear. Finally, if a team quickly falls behind, if they don’t have a strong level of self-confidence within themselves, they will begin hearing the negative self-talk and question their abilities. Having a consistent mental preparation routine, challenging yourself to be prepared for distractions which can keep your focus on the proper things, being ready for the negativity that comes with falling behind and having a strong level of confidence, knowing that no matter what the score or the situation, you are capable of performing to your potential, will all contribute to giving you the best chance of success and eliminating the possibility of being upset.