Being a Mental Management Coach is a truly rewarding experience.
Three days after I gave a seminar, a young man sent me a picture of himself. He had just shot his first 300 and had 25 X's.
He was very excited and thanked me for helping him with his mental game. He did the work. I just showed him the tools.
He went on to shoot a medal winning performance in Provincials two weeks later.
I believe he will go far in his chosen sport because he will work diligently to balance the three aspects of the Mental Management System.
Mental Management at the Brier
Did you watch the Brier? I did and, as a Mental Management Coach, I found it fascinating.
Each team worked hard to win the Provincial title to make to the top event in Men’s curling in Canada. The pressure of making it to the Brier is nothing less than incredible. How much more pressure was Brad Gushue’s team under? Their province had not won a Brier since 1976 and, this year it was held in their province. Most of the crowd was watching them and cheering for them. The other teams had the pressure of knowing that most of the spectators were not on their side. How did the teams perform so well? They had the mental attitude that this is the way it was and, they would enjoy the experience.
Every man had what curlers call a “pre-shot routine”. I call it a mental program. They did exactly the same thing every time they threw a rock. They followed the same steps. They could be seen focusing on the process. So, they could expect the outcome that they wanted. Were they 100% successful? No, but had they concentrated on the outcome rather than the process, their numbers would have been lower. Many of them shot percentages that were in the high nineties.
If he was in his “routine” and the crowd erupted after a shot, the curler stopped, stood up, and began the process again. It is similar to “letting down” in archery. For the curler, something distracted him or interrupted his process. He didn’t push through it. He started over. This is exactly what we, as archers, should do.
When a shot did not go as planned, the curler did not dwell on it. The rest of the team found something positive. For example: “good sweeping”, “you were on the broom”, “we can work with it”. Not once did I hear them talk about the missed shot. They feasted on the good shots and forgot the ones that needed work.
Top athletes in the world all have a mental program that they run consistently under pressure on demand. Do you want to have the same advantage?
Certified Mental Management Coach
My mother always said: "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all." Growing up, it was sometimes hard to do, but I tried to follow her advice. After talking to Lanny Bassham, I realized why my mother thought that this was so important.
Every time we say something negative, we shrink our own self-image as well as that of the other person. When we make positive comments, we build both self-images.
How often, after a 3D archery tournament, are you asked: "How did you shoot?" Honestly, we are asked that every time. How do you respond?
Do you say: "I was down thirteen. I shot a five on the mosquito and eights on four others. I can't believe that I did that." or "The wind was horrible, so I couldn't hold steady." or "Can you believe the rain? No one can shoot well in that kind of rain. The shoot should have been called off."
Each of these comments imprints negative images into the self-images of the speaker and of the listener. Each of these comments shrinks the self-images of both parties. Why do we do this to each other?
Why do we find it so difficult to create positive images that build self-images? Why can't we say: "I shot fifteen ten's and eleven's on that round and twenty-seven ten's and eleven's in total today." or "The wind was challenging, but I learned how to read it and did the best that I could." or "I learned how to shoot in torrential rain. I focused on my process and the outcome was good."?
In this age of technology, we share on Facebook. Every time there is a shoot, there are posts. How many of them have negative comments? Of the ones that I read, many are self-deprecating. I see comments like: "I didn't shoot very well today." or "I shot better last year."
I am not saying that we should brag, but there is nothing wrong with giving ourselves and others praise when it is due. Praising others makes them feel good and improves our own self-images. Praise will also imprint positive images that will increase the probability that those positive actions will happen again.
Let's create positivity!
Certified Mental Management Coach