"If/When you think, you stink” is a sports adage. A player should react naturally to what’s going on in the game; if the player is thinking too much, then the player isn’t reacting instinctively.
The saying is popular in many sports. “If you think, you stink” was cited in 1991 in hockey. “If you think, you stink” was cited in in 2008 in football. “When you think, you stink” was cited in 2010 in football. “And in baseball they have saying, ‘When you think you stink’” was cited on Twitter on May 11, 2011. “My old HS coach used to say ‘when you think, you stink’” was cited by basketball coach Tom Penders on Twitter on June 18, 2013.
“A full mind is an empty bat” and “You can’t think and hit at the same time” are related sayings.
28 December 1991, Syracuse (NY) Herald Journal, “Skaneateles peppers Brothers’ goaltenders” by Tom Clark, pg. B8, col. 2:
“If you think, you stink.”
That is the motto of Clifton Park Shenendehowa goaltender Tim Baker adheres to when playing hockey, and it certainly seems to work.
23 August 2008, The Free Press (Kinston, NC), “What they said,” pg. A4, col. 3:
In football you’ve got to play fast. My philosophy defensively has always been, ‘If you think, you stink.’ So obviously within the scheme of what we do, if you can play fast you’re going to make some plays.”
-- Jon Tenuta, Notre Dame’s assistant head coach for defense.
5 December 2010, The Post-Standard (Syracuse, NY), pg. C-6, col. 5:
Best advice I’ve ever received: “Don’t think. When you think you stink.”
Slumps are often mental. And in baseball they have saying, “When you think you stink’’ Has to find way to relax. The talent is there
5:43 PM - 11 May 2011
@sidrosenberg My old HS coach used to say “when you think, you stink.! LB J is thinking too much. Act, react and think tomorrow.!
9:16 PM - 18 Jun 2013
The Oklahoman (Oklahoma City, OK)
Oklahoma State football: OSU defense does the thinking during the week, not on game days
The brainwork prep and planning are done during the week in the meeting rooms and on the practice field. Come Saturdays, the Cowboys want to ball, with free minds feeding a frenetic style of play.
by John Helsley Published: September 5, 2013
STILLWATER — Glenn Spencer gets to the point in motivating his defenders to be aggressive and decisive.
“One of his quotes is, ‘If you think, you stink,’” said Oklahoma State linebacker Caleb Lavey. “That means you’re too slow; you’re reading too much.
“That’s one of the things he lets us do, just go out there and play football. We still have a few reads here and there, but it’s just go out and play the game. Play your game and make plays.”
Los Angeles (CA) Times
Dallas’ DeMarco Murray is on track to set a new season rushing record
By Sam Farmer
OCTOBER 20, 2014, 7:40 PM
There’s an old saying in football: When you think, you stink. With running backs in particular, they’re usually at their best when they are in reaction mode, rather than following the script as drawn.