Your mind is a crazy thing.
What’s even crazier is the things that it allows you to do and the things it holds you back from. As an athlete the mind is just another aspect to overcome. For some, it’s a bigger obstacle than others.
It’s a thing where seeing the glass half full can get you a lot further than seeing it half empty.
The quote “if you can believe it, you can achieve it” is true when it comes to the mind and what you can do.
Now if you want to go out and run a mile in a time you have never done before, it’s possible. You have to work for it though. When the frustration of not getting that time kicks in that’s where you have to picture it in your mind.
If you can’t even picture yourself accomplishing that goal you won’t be able to let yourself get there. The frustration will take over. Maybe even make you give up.
I read a book before every season of playing called Mind Gym by Gary Mack. I do this to prepare myself, for the mental hell I’m voluntarily putting myself through.
It’s something every athlete should do. And the greats have all accomplished.
In a place where my body is breaking down on me, I feel like I can’t breathe and I’m no longer able to move. Somehow through all that my mind finds a way to get me through it.
Having asthma is sometimes scary.
When I begin to wheeze and hear myself breathe, it mentally scares me. I then become more aware of my shortness of breathe. My mind begins to panic and go through the steps of what to do if I have an asthma attack. Where’s my inhaler? I need it! Now!
Then I go back to my mind and take a deep breathe and block everything out. This feeling will not last forever. Keep breathing. Control it. You don’t need help. You can do this. You can finish.
Just breathe through it. That’s always been my go to saying to myself while I’m running.
Accomplishing small tasks along the way to finishing the run. Blocking out the feeling of not being able to do it and remembering you can.
One example in the book that I always think back to is with one of his golfers.
He talked about how when asking what he was thinking about before taking his swing his answer was “don’t hit this ball into the water.”
He swung and surely enough the ball went straight into the water.
When you put so much focus on the thing at task that you don’t want to happen you’re now paying more attention to it. The likelihood of you doing exactly what your concentrating on not doing is extremely likely.
Mack turned to his golfer again at the same spot as the last swing. He told him to close his eyes and concentrate not on the water and not hitting it but rather the green and hitting it.
He opened his eyes took a minute and took his swing.
The ball landed right on the green.
This lesson was something that helped me a lot this year in field hockey. It’s also a lesson I’ve taken off of the field with me as well. Keep focused on what you actually want to happen rather than what you want to avoid.
But just the same there are always obstacles in your way.
Currently I feel like Hannah Montana living a double life.
In one life, I’m trying to be a great student and figure out what exactly to do with my life for the summer. In the other life I’m a lacrosse player who’s losing a fighting battle to get back on the field.
My student life is a bit more relaxed. I have much more time. Yet the concept for what’s down the road makes me have to remain concentrated. Do I know what I want to do with the rest of my life yet? No idea. But I have to stay positive and opened minded to opportunities that are granted to me. Do not be close minded.
So for the sports life, it’s just one of those mental roadblocks. A time at which I have to keep pushing through and focus on the bigger picture. Accomplishing small goals before I get to the larger one.
It’s the coming to practice day in and day out and continuing to work hard. Even if it means nothing in return.
Just knowing that you tried your best, and held nothing back. No regrets.