As an athlete, you are quite in tune with your strengths and weaknesses, so it's frustrating when you know you're not playing to your full potential. During these times, everyone around you tries to help by offering advice and motivational tips, which, despite the best of intentions only lead to more irritation.
No one really understands your personal emotional state in response to the obstacles you are facing, and you might be feeling confused yourself. That's typically when athletes end up in a slump and the problem only seems to get worse.
If you're in the golf world, or you enjoy following record holders, you may have heard of Eric Jones. He now holds the title (for a second time) as the world's long drive champion with a drive of 369 yards. During a recent conversation with Eric, he spoke about his quest for the title, explaining how he practiced, his strategy for dealing with pressure and his mindset when preparing for competition.
Suddenly, another golfer (a 5-handicap) said, "I can't imagine hitting the ball that far," to which I immediately responded, "Then you never will." Total silence. But to my great surprise, the following week I received an email from this golfer. All it said was, "Actually, yesterday I hit the longest drive of my life, approximately 325 yards."
That 5-handicapper probably always had the capability, but self-doubt stopped him without his even realizing it. By shifting focus, he accomplished something that he believed was impossible. That's why motivational tips don't work in all situations. This golfer had had many discussions about improving his distance off the tee, and he certainly had the motivation. He just didn't believe he could do it. When I reframed the situation, it created a new visual in his mind. Instead of viewing something as impossible, he had a new focus on what he could do. All it took was a slight shift from negative to positive thinking; within a week, he achieved something that had been eluding him for years.
Let's face it; unmet goals and disappointment only keep us focused on the problem. Giving those things too much emphasis sucks our energy. It can even lead to depression.
So what breakthrough would you like to achieve? For more advice on avoiding the mind game trap, click here for my new training. Share your thoughts and click the Facebook "like" button.
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