**This week, please enjoy a guest blog post from OPEX HQ Remote and Onsite Coach Mike Lee. This article is originally posted via the OPEX website:
“Sports psychology is the scientific study of mind, emotion, and behavior as it relates to athletic performance and physical activity.”
The human brain is fascinating. Throughout my coaching career I have strived to learn about and understand human behavior, more specifically, how an athlete’s brain works prior to competition. I can look back at personal experiences and identify times where I had not clarified my specific goal and what effort I needed to extend to reach the goal. I have learned that clarity of the goal and the willingness to extend the effort to achieve the goal are essential to the success of an athlete.
“Sports are 90% mental and 10% physical.”
The brain is so powerful! I have seen some of the best athletes in the world try to find an excuse, a reason not to step up to the challenge of the moment and thrive. Athletes need to have a clear goal and the heart and willingness to work to achieve the goal. Athletes should not be coddled or have excuses validated. Coaches need to challenge them to be a champion.
One obstacle may be that an athlete fears being honest with the coach. The athlete can feel like a failure, or that they have let the coach down if the truth is communicated. The athlete’s perception may be that others will disrespect them because they did not follow through. Failure to communicate honestly with the coach sometimes creates opportunities for athletes to find excuses to walk away and escape so they don’t have to face failure.
Below are some scenarios illustrating excuses to walk away from a goal and “escape” failure.
Athlete 1 – “The Phantom Injury” – All week he/she felt great, consistent, powerful, strong. He /She peaked at the right time and had an immense amount of momentum. The day before competition, the text comes through……. “Coach I have a pain in my left knee, really affecting the way I squat. I will do my best tomorrow, but wanted to let you know it could affect overall performance.”
Athlete 2 – “Self-Sabotage” – He /She is prepared physically, but during the week leading up the competition self-doubt sets in. “Coach, I am going into this competition with a great mindset. I know where I am going to finish, which is probably at the bottom of the pack. LOL, but, oh well, it’ll be fun!”
Athlete 3 – “Pointing the Finger” – He/She lacks commitment to training and attempts to direct faults on others, “Coach, I don’t think we have done enough OHS work. I should have done more before the competition. I do not think I’m prepared. What should I do?”
Athlete 4 – “The Infamous Unscheduled Event” – This specific competition has been scheduled as the culminating goal for his training for almost a year. He/She spent 8 weeks in specific preparation for the competition. Suddenly, one week out, the athlete’s family “requires” him/her to go on vacation. “Sorry coach, I did all I could to convince them to let me compete, but my parents are forcing me to go on this vacation. Maybe next year.”
Athlete 5 – “I’m sick” – The competition is 2 days out, everything is on track. The text comes through, “Coach, I’m starting to get sick and I doubt I will feel better before the competition.”
Message – Learn to own your goal and embrace the journey. Visualize a clear picture of the specific goal, how you will achieve the goal and refuse to let fear of failure drive you off your course. Communicate honestly with your coach as your training progresses so that he/she can help you on your journey to be a champion.
Embrace open communication and a positive mindset. Set your goal and be totally committed. Own your shit, be accountable and let nothing stand between you and the prize.