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|Getting the Most Out of Your Athletic Experience: A Simple Post-Event Tool|
|Written by John C. Panepinto|
|Friday, 19 March 2010 10:29|
Practice and competition offer valuable information as to where you are in reference to where you are going. While goals create the gap between where you are and where you want to be, as well as the intention and motivation to bridge that gap, another tool is needed to assess the progress. You need a simple tool to help you reflect on your goals in the moment. As mentioned in A Course on Mental Toughness, “Reflecting on your Goals” is a Key to developing resiliency and maintaining passion.
A quick and simple tool I have used for years for this Key is centered on three important questions that need to be asked after every practice and every competition. These questions offer more than just monitoring progress (and supplement a deeper monitoring process), but provide a means for an athlete and a coach to reflect on developmental level. For this I have adapted a quality tool known as a “Plus-Delta” to gain insight into three areas: 1) How the athlete views the event (his developmental perception), 2) What they athlete feels is working or improving, 3) The level of emotional maturity.
As a coach or a player you can use this tool as post-game and post-practice ritual. Its simplicity makes it the perfect tool for two key mental processes: reaction and refection.
I would recommend using an entire sheet of paper in your athletic journal. Write as much as you can immediately following the event (reaction). Then write as much as you can after you have processed the event and have some time and distance (reflection). As an athlete you must own this process. If you are a coach, simply assist this process with questions and observations—no judgments or criticisms. What you will note is that the more you use this tool, the more you will begin to notice. In this you are building the capacity for self-awareness—the true fundamental key to mental toughness. For in awareness we see possibilities and what we are capable of. We see our motivations, our self-imposed obstacles. We see a bigger context…
So, what does each column reveal? The first column tells us the language of the competitor and indirectly tells us what level the individual is operating from. On the simplest level, you can divide perception into physical, emotional, mental or integral (I will discuss these further in another article). These levels can be treated differently depending on the sport. For example, in tennis I use the levels:
Again, the level of the competitor is evident as they debrief their experience. They are what they see—what their perception is. There is no getting around this. If a tennis player comes off the court and tells me nothing but how they stroked for the first column, they are operating from the fundamental or physical level.
The second column tells you how the athlete connects experience within the gap between where they are and where they are heading. If they feel they wouldn’t change anything or have little to offer, then this is exactly what they are doing during competition. They are working from limited perspective and limited options. The goal is to widen perspective and create the conditions to understand different options. Or simply to get a little better in a particular area or areas.
Finally, no matter how competitive you are, if you cannot find enjoyment in practice or competition, then that alone is good data. It may even seem like fluff, but it is not. Proof: watch the faces of those who have done their best and given their all…. You will see pure joy. On the other side of this coin, interview someone who has quit or has given up before they have reached their potential. To some degree you will hear a loss of joy.
At one end, enjoyment can tell you how comfortable you are with the process (and process goals) or if you are too tied to the results. On the other end, enjoyment is tied to gratitude. If we are not enjoying the opportunity to use our gift, then we are losing touch with gratitude. When gratitude is lost in the process, a downward spiral is sure to follow. Everything begins from the attitude of gratitude.
The last part of the formula is consistency over time. You can benefit from the process of using this tool right away in terms of monitoring and planning. But the long-term benefits are immense as you will continue to learn and expand your context. These are the keys to aligning with development…
|Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 May 2010 11:20|