People are like teabags, you don’t see their true strength until they’re in hot water.
When competing in sports, and life, trust all the hard work you’ve put in…and remember this quote:
When you come to the edge of all the light you know and are about to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things will happen: there will be something solid to stand on, or you’ll be taught to fly.
Suppose you are playing a tennis match and the score is tied. Your opponent hits you a weak shot and you…hit the ball into the bottom of the net.
How do you react?
If you’re like most people, you will either, let out a sigh of frustration, say something like, “How can you miss that?!?” or perhaps even hit your racquet on the ground.
Do these reactions help you or hurt you?
They hurt you, of course. Plus, you will give your opponent increased confidence to “finish you off.”
Here’s a better response for next time:
1. Transfer the racquet into your opposite hand.
2. Immediately turn away from the net.
3. Walk confidently.
4. Take a long, deep breath.
5. Think about how you can make an adjustment next time.
6. Say an affirmation to yourself like, “That shot is in the past—I can’t control the past. Let it go and focus on this point.”
7. Move your feet like a boxer, and get ready for the next point.
8. Think about your strategy for the next point.
9. Trust your game.
10. Just play.
The greatest athletes in history have something in common, and that is, they are able to let go of past. You can too, it’s a choice.
Thanks for reading.
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Recently, a tennis coach asked me for some advice. He said there was a student of his who wanted to win, but was afraid to play tournaments. She was uncomfortable under the pressure. In practice, she was great.
I told him that in order to be more comfortable being uncomfortable, she needed to put herself out there. She needed to play more tournaments. You can run from fear (it will chase you), or you can face fear (it will lose power). And I told the coach that Pete Sampras love it more when the pressure was on, so it is not the pressure, but your perception of the pressure that makes or breaks you.
When I spoke to gold medalist, Lindsey Vonn at the US Open last year, she told me that the reason why she was able to perform so well under pressure was because she put herself in those situations over an over again.
You may not be able to ski like Vonn, or serve like Sampras, but you can have the same attitude towards pressure as them.
We choose what we focus on.
Suppose you are winning a tennis match by a score of 5-0, and your opponent then wins the next three games. You start to think that the momentum has switched and that the person on the other side of the net has a chance to win.
This type of thinking is normal, however, many people end up losing that set by focusing on the possible loss instead of focusing on HOW they can close it out.
The key is acknowledging that negative little voice inside your head and then moving on. Focusing on the next point. Your strategy. Your footwork.
Is this easier said than done?
Yes and no. Simple…yes. Easy…no. Mental training is just like physical training. You have to work at it.
Here’s an example of how you can shift your focus at any time.
Look around you and find three things that are blue.
Now quickly close your eyes and find something green.
Isn’t it hard to do?
Because it’s hard to focus on two things at the same time.
You can’t get green when focusing on blue.
You can’t get a win from focusing on a loss.
Teammates have said that Mariano is very humble and is the same person that he was when he played in the minor leagues. I could believe that. He was such a pleasure to speak to and had such a great positive energy about him.
Rivera once said:
“When you start thinking, a lot of things will happen. Emotions take place, and you have to know how to control your emotions. If you don’t control your emotions, your emotions will control your acts, and that’s not good.”
Rivera told me today that during pressure situations, you need to keep your composure.
How does Rivera do it? He focuses on the catcher’s mitt. He acknowledges the pressure, then gets to work.
You may not have Mariano Rivera’s cut fastball, but you can have the same mindset and focus as him.
Keep doing things that put you out of your comfort zone, until you feel comfortable.
Then find some new things to do that make you uncomfortable.
This is mental cross-training at its best.
Do you want to be comfortable, or do you want to be great?
Keep pushing yourself and you will find yourself in a whole new world.
Have you ever had a fear of something?
Perhaps playing in front of a big crowd? Speaking in front of a group? A piano recital?
Fear is normal. But you don’t have to act like you are fearful. Focus on the process, not the outcome.
As a matter of fact, fear is nature’s way of testing you to see if you are serious about your goals.
“When you’re tired and frustrated is where it begins. Because that’s when others quit.” -ROB GILBERT, Ph.D., noted Sports Psychologist and founder of Success Hotline (973 743 4690)