To sum up Sport/Performance Psychology in a 3 word sentence- Pull the trigger!
This is analogous to the Nike slogan of “Just Do It.” However, I like “pull the trigger” because it commands the most attention and includes a sense of urgency.
When it comes right down to it, you are faced with one major decision in life- Am I going to go all out OR am I going to hold back? (thank you Dr. Rob Gilbert) Are you going to make it happen or are you going to sit back and hope it happens? I’m sure anyone reading this does not need to be convinced that the difference between champions in sports and life are the ones who make things happen. Champions pull the trigger.
There are many things that could inhibit someone from pulling the trigger- fear, past experience, over analysis, etc etc. Many people have a misconception that champions do not go through similar mental discomforts- they are just different kinds of people than we are, they say. Well guess what? Champions are human just like anyone else- never subhuman or superhuman, but simply human. They have emotions, doubts, fears, nervousness, and past failures just like anyone else, but they act ANYWAY.
A warrior isn’t about perfection or victory or invulnerability, but absolute vulnerability- that’s the only true courage. (Peaceful Warrior)
Champions do not let doubts, fears, and past failures cripple them from taking action. Typically, a champion uses “failure” to motivate themselves to take more action. Champions will pull the trigger.
Many do not realize this, but Champions lose more than normal people lose. Why? Because they make more attempts than ordinary people. The difference is that they continue to take action no matter what their outcomes. Surely they use their failures as feedback and thus look honestly at themselves and make modifications when necessary, but they continue to act, they continue to pull the trigger.
Take a look at a few examples of Champions losing more than normal people:
~Few people would think that the hitter who struck out most times in baseball history would be thought of as a good player, much less a baseball hall of famer, Mr. October REGGIE JACKSON.
~Or that the batter who made the most outs ever would also have the most hits- does PETE ROSE ring a bell?
~ Surely the pitcher with the most all time losses would be sent back to the minors. He wouldn’t be the pitcher with the most all time wins would he? Would they name the Most Valuable Pitcher the CY YOUNG award?
~You would think the basketball player who missed over 9,000 shots, lost almost 300 games, missed the game winning shot 26 times, and cut from freshman high school team would be MICHAEL JORDAN.
~Just google the “successes and failures of ABRAHAM LINCOLN” if you want to see real adversity and bouncing back from losses!
NJ wrestling great Andrew Flanagan once said that in high school he wrestled in higher divisions in the off-season and thus had a lot of losses. But that made him tougher and was a big contributor to his success. He said, “if you’re not losing, your not wrestling good enough competition.” You can apply this to any area in life. The Champion seeks the best competition. He goes for the challenge, to test himself. We often tend to compete at the level of our competition. So to raise your level, raise your competition. How many people could have been so much better if they would have chosen to join the pack of lions instead of assuming the lead among wolves. Yeah it may feel good, but which will make you better? Ask yourself that honestly. Is your goal to look good in front of people and feel good? Or is it to get as good as you can (which of course will eventually lead to recognition and good self feelings)?
I love to hear the reasoning when I hear great performers call BS on Sport/Performance Psychology. They say “that stuff” is garbage. I don’t think about psychology or anything for that matter. I just do it.
When I hear this I always laugh to myself because theirin lies the master of Performance Psychology. If I had to make a brief list of what Performance Psychology in a nutshell it would be (1)Help person find what they want (2)Come up with a plan of how to achieve it (3)Get person to take action (3)Get person to step out of their own way (get their mind and body to work together). That’s it!
The Champions who call a bluff on Performance Psychology do naturally exactly as they are supposed to (they just do not realize it) – they know what they want, they act, they don’t get in their own way by over thinking or negative thinking.
True, some people have it naturally. So it’s tempting to say, “you either have it or you don’t.” Well I say, you have it or you can LEARN IT. Remember the strong rule the weak, but the smart rule the strong (for example humans tame lions, not the reverse). As some people are naturally stronger than others, this is not the end of the story. On the contrary, a person who is naturally strong who never lifts weights can and will lose to the unnatural who makes lifting weights a high priority. There are scientific ways to improve your strength, just as there are scientific ways to improve your mindset.
That’s right, this is not chat room discussion. This is a SCIENTIFIC FIELD. A lot of people aren’t aware of that. Sport Psychology is a SCIENCE. Many coaches tell athletes to be more confident or to relax. But they never tell them quite how to do it. Probably because they themselves are not aware of how to do so. I’m here to tell you there are techniques and systematic ways to help you get more confident and to relax when you get too nervous. Whether you take advantage of them or not is up to you…