I had a “horrible” day on the beach Saturday. It seemed my game was completely off.
Don’t get me wrong, the sun was shining and I played four hours of volleyball with friends so it is hard to complain, but I can sometimes be a “little” competitive and I managed to get completely frustrated with myself when we were down 16-2 and I could not pass a ball! (ha,imagine!)
Everything that I preach to players and teams was coming back to me and yet I couldn’t get my attitude to switch. I was feeling like a hypocrite and that was making it worse. I was getting mad at myself for not being able to snap right out of it.
John has become a very good volleyball player and yesterday he was my head cheerleader –at first that bothered me too, but man am I lucky that he loves me even when I am throwing a little tantrum. 🙂
I was embarrassed by my performance and even my behavior, but we turned it around. No, we didn’t win that set, but came back and played well the rest of the day.
The remarkable thing is that we CAN change things in an instant and we can choose our attitude and how we react in any moment and that can make the difference between winning and losing or a good day and a bad day.
There are key elements we must adjust quickly to radically change our mindset and our performance:
- Physiology: What does our physiology say about us? Are our shoulders slumped? If they are, you are probably sucking the life out of your teammates too. Is our body tight and rigid? If they are, you are probably causing your teammates to tense up as well. Take a deep breath, lift your sternum, pull your shoulders back and walk tall. Open your eyes a little wider. We must look like a winner before we can be a winner. Physiology is contagious– make sure what you spread to your teammates is good. On a similar note, good physiology (a little swagger) can earn you a couple of points before the game has even started because the other team will assume you are going to beat them. Conversely, poor physiology before the game even starts will cost you points you can’t make up.
- Language: What is the conversation in your head? Make sure it is positive and constructive. Our body listens to our thoughts and aims to please. I like this quote by Carl McGown: “Every muscle fiber, every cell is listening to our thoughts.” It is the truth. What your body believes your body will achieve.
- Focus: What are we focused on? It is a fact that what we focus on we move towards. Race car drivers are trained to look away from the wall when a crash seems imminent. Are we focused on our last mistake, or on what we learned we must adjust? Are we focused completely on ourselves in self-pity or frustration or on the success of our teammates? Are we focused on the present moment or still dwelling on the last lost point? Focus on the now. In this case the current ball. Not the last point or even the next point. Focus on the outcome you want and you will move towards it.
Change and adjust anyone of these and your game (or day) will improve. Radically change all three and you will be unstoppable!
Our attitude is the one thing we have control of — not someone elses’ serve or how much the wind is blowing… just how we are going to react and enjoy that fleeting moment. The sooner we can smile and learn from our mistakes the sooner we will get back on top.
Why is this perfectly simple solution sometimes so tough to implement? Experiment with it in your next match or the next time you are feeling a bit down or frustrated in life. You will find it is actually quite easy. And realizing that dark funky cloud is not some sort of virus you can’t escape, but instead a state you are absolutely in control of can be very liberating!