Out of control EMOTIONS

Out of control EMOTIONS

IN THIS ISSUE: “Out of control emotions” – When I think about emotions in sport, one memory pops up and immediately begs to be recognized. I was a junior tennis player competing at a tournament in the Boston, Massachusetts area. Because it was a rather large competition, the tournament ran a number of age groups simultaneously, including the men’s division. In between my matches I would wander around and watch the older folk play. As I was doing this, my attention was immediately drawn to some rather loud vocal sounds coming from one particular court. As I got closer I could recognize some of the colorful words and phrases that were being expertly used by one of the adult competitors. The match had an air of tension and intensity to it, so I joined the small crowd that had already gathered to watch. The points were hard fought, with long rallies and great shot execution. Then every so often, after missing an easy shot or losing a big point, this one player would let out a frustrated howl followed by a few, choice, R-rated expletives. When he wasn’t yelling, he was banging his racquet against his leg or throwing it into the fence in frustration. Of course, the more he did this, the worse he played, and the worse he played, the angrier he got.

Physically and technically, he appeared to have the stronger game than his opponent, but his increasingly out of control emotions made his play inconsistent, which probably explained why he was losing. He’d hit a brilliant passing shot one point and then turn around and commit an unforced error the next. It seemed more and more obvious to me that his anger was slowly getting the better of him. He had his back to the wall, down 4 games to 5 and serving in the deciding set to stay in the match. He double faulted the first point, which didn’t go over too big. Because his anger was still bubbling over from this mistake, he quickly lost the next two points and found himself down triple match point. This made him even more “unhappy.” As an impressionable 14 year old, it was actually a bit scary for me to watch this guy. He looked somewhat crazed with his red-faced and angry, explosive demeanor. It was as if he was about to blow. Despite his anger, he somehow managed to pull himself together enough to save two match points. The next point was incredibly long and he finally was able to maneuver his opponent far enough out of position to have a wide open forehand. Unfortunately he rushed the shot and missed the back line by four inches.

Game. Set. Match. He had lost. And then he suddenly just SNAPPED. Without bothering to walk to the net to shake his opponent’s hand he turned around and smashed his racquet on the court with such force that the frame completely buckled and bits of the wood went flying everywhere. Then he walked to the back of the court where there was a brick retaining wall to retrieve his towel but instead of picking it up he just stood there staring at it for several seconds. Then, without warning he angrily smashed his right fist directly into the wall. That was more then enough for me! I got up and quickly left. I like violence in the movies, but I’m not much of a fan of it in real life! Besides, I didn’t want to be anywhere near this guy when he walked past me out of the court area. Who knew what he was capable of. By lunchtime I had completely forgotten about him, especially since I had my own match to play. At the very end of the day I saw him standing by himself, watching another match. I was momentarily surprised to see that his right wrist and forearm were in a sling and completely encased in a fresh plaster cast. The word around the courts was that he had shattered his wrist and broken his arm in three places when he punched the wall.

So what are the lessons in this? Just where do out of control emotions take us in the wonderful world of sport? What do they do for the athletes, coaches and parents that succumb to them? What do they do for those that these emotions sometimes get directed at? Not too long ago the hockey and sports world were stunned and shocked by the haunting images of Canucks’ forward Todd Bertuzzi skating up from behind an unsuspecting Steve Moore, sucker-punching him in the side of the head and then climbing onto his back as he fell forward, riding him down hard to the ice face first and knocking him unconscious. The severity of this assault was way beyond the “violence-dujour” that has become a mainstay in the NHL.

It’s questionable whether Moore will ever be able to skate again as a professional and Bertuzzi has been suspended from the league for at least the rest of this season, if not longer. Was Beruzzi’s unchecked anger responsible for this potentially deadly, out-of-control act? And what about coaching legend Woody Hayes, considered by many to be one of the best football coaches and greatest winners ever? Hayes’ was as famous for his out of control temper as he was for his success on the gridiron. When things didn’t go his way it was common for him to explode into verbal assaults directed at both coaches and players. Frequently during these tirades Woody would throw and usually break anything within his reach. Unfortunately, despite all his greatness and success as a coach, Hayes is most often known for the final incident that cost him his career in college football. He had a temper tantrum during the Gator Bowl against Clemson, lost emotional control and struck Charlie Bauman, a Clemson linebacker immediately after Bauman intercepted an Ohio State pass, sealing a Clemson victory.The stories of out-of-control youth sports parents are just as common and upsetting, if not more so. The Reading, Massachusetts hockey incident two summers ago that left a coach-father dead after he was physically assaulted by an angry dad who was enraged because he thought the coach wasn ’t controlling an already too aggressive practice in which his 10 year old son might get hurt. Two mothers from opposing sides of an under 12 soccer game coming to blows and rolling around in the mud in front of horrified parents and kids because one of the women felt that the other had insulted her son. The tennis dad who was banned from watching any of his daughter’s matches because of his angry, infantile behavior and his overt threats to a parent of one of his daughter’s opponents. The swim mom who verbally abused her 9 year old daughter and slapped her in the face in front of at least 100 stunned coaches, parents and swimmers because the poor girl had been disqualified from her race.Why do some of us have such problems controlling our anger in relation to something that, in the bigger picture, isn’t really all that important? Sports after all, are really just games played by kids. They are not larger than life. In this issue of The Mental Toughness Newsletter we will explore our emotions and what they do to us on the field, track or course.

Athlete’s Locker – “Anger will NOT make you play better!”
Parent’s Corner – “Managing strong emotions before and after the game.”
Coach’s Office – “Stay in emotional control to keep control.”
Dr. G’s Teaching Tales – “Falling trees”

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ATHLETE’S LOCKER “ Anger will NOT make you play better!”Your emotions are like a fire. When you control them, they will keep you warm and comfortable under the most adverse conditions. When they control you, they’ll burn your house right down to the ground .There’s a myth out there in the world of sports performance that the “fire” that’s necessary for peak performance somehow comes from anger. Why else would coaches deliberately try to get their athletes angry before a game with a fiery pep talk or bizarre, sadistic behavior like biting the head off some poor animal or ripping a precut hat in half? How else could you explain a coach putting a player down to his face in hopes that he will get that athlete “ticked off enough” at the coach to try and prove him wrong? Perhaps you’ve even had the experience of playing out of your mind after going into a performance angry or really upset and this has kept the myth going for you.

Regardless of these past experiences, and despite what your coaches may tell you about getting angry or “pumped” before you perform, it’s important for you to understand one thing: You will NEVER consistently play to your potential when you’re angry. Oh sure, your emotions may occasionally peak at just the right time, in just the right way so that you’ll end up with an occasional awesome outing. However, you’ll be hard pressed to duplicate that performance the next ten times you go out. What I’m saying here is that anger and peak performance don’t CONSISTENTLY mix. In fact, far more often times than not they are like oil and water. That is, if you go into a game or match ticked off, your anger will sink you and your performance and you’ll end up dragging your teammates along for the ride. Let me explain:

The secret to consistently playing your best is very simple. You must be loose and relaxed going into and during your game, match or race. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be excited or feel the old adrenaline rush before the starting whistle. What it does mean is that you can’t play your best unless you are calm and in control. When you’re calm and loose inside, your muscles are able to execute the way that they were trained. As a result, your movements are smooth and coordinated, your timing is right on and your reflexes are there for you. How else can you explain why so many athletes perform their very best in practice? They are rarely, if ever entertaining strong emotions when they train.The problem with anger and other powerful emotions is that they are at the opposite end of the street as loose and relaxed. There is nothing that will tighten your muscles up faster than anger and strong emotions. As your anger rises, your muscles tense up to the point that they begin to seriously sabotage your performance. Tight muscles make you less flexible, mess up your timing and rhythm, slow your reaction time and speed, and absolutely destroy your mechanics.

While there’s no question that emotion can sometimes take your performance to the next level, it’s virtually impossible to control the exact amount of chemicals that flow through your body whenever you become emotional. Furthermore, it’s just as difficult to deliberately duplicate an emotional state that you might have had the last time you played well. By their very nature, emotions, once naturally triggered by the environment or life circumstances, tend to take on a life of their own. Because of this, your best bet is to train yourself to stay away from your anger and other strong emotions whenever you compete.How do you actually do this?

There are three things that you must do in order to develop the ability to remain calm and composed in the face of strong emotions: 1) CONTROL YOUR SELF-TALK; 2) CONTROL YOUR FOCUS OF CONCENTRATION; 3) KEEP YOUR BODY PHYSIOLOGICALLY LOOSE AND RELAXED. Let’s briefly take a look at all three.

There are three very common things that happen whenever an athlete begins to lose emotional control. First, his/her self-talk turns negative and nasty. Second, the athlete begins to concentrate on the source or cause of the upset. For example, if I made a mistake and it triggered an emotional or angry reaction inside of me, I’d tend to focus on the mistake. Third, and as a result of the first two, the athlete’s physiological arousal level starts to climb up and up, until it eventually climbs right off the charts. The athlete starts getting physically tense. So the golfer who parks his tee shot into the nearest woods begins to nastily berate himself on the inside. “You idiot! What is wrong with you? All those lessons, all that money and all the time and practice you’ve put into this and you still go and hit shots like that! You are totally pitiful!” These “kind” words and his prolonged focus on the bad shot insure that his body will respond by tightening up.

If he is unable to interrupt this negative reaction, it will spill over into the next shot. When his next shot is a bad one, his anger and frustration will continue to spiral out of control, until eventually his clubs end up in the nearest water hole and he has totally embarrassed himself in front of his playing partners.If you want to learn to put a stop to runaway emotions then you must learn to control your self talk and focus right after a “trigger event.” A trigger event” is the very first thing that happens that sets your anger and frustration rising. It could be someone making a comment to you, a hard hit, a mistake or miscue on your part or some other event. Controlling your self-talk means learning how to be a better coach to yourself. No good coach would ever belittle, berate, make fun of, or get angry with you when you messed up. Plenty of bad coaches would.

So you have to begin to practice being a better “inner coach” to yourself. This means you have to learn to forgive yourself when you’re not perfect, forgive yourself when you make a mistake, forgive yourself if your mistake costs your team a run or even the game. Getting nasty and directing your upset at yourself will NEVER inspire you to play better. Instead, try practicing responding to your upsets with things like, “let it go,” “stay in the NOW!” “ you’ll get it back next time,” “Stay calm and loose,” “It’s OK, just focus on this next play, etc.” Don’t expect immediate results when you first practice using this kind of internal coaching. Be patient with yourself and stick with it. Being negative and hard on yourself will never get you playing better.Controlling your focus means that once you’ve messed up, your job is to mentally leave that mistake in the past. The time to work on the things that you’ve done wrong is always in practice, and NEVER during a performance.

This means that you must quickly redirect your focus of concentration away from the mistake or upsetting event and back to the moment. You have to train yourself to recognize when your concentration is in the PAST and then discipline yourself to quickly return your focus back to the NOW. If you keep your focus in the NOW it will be virtually impossible for you to lose emotional control. Like learning to control your self-talk, controlling your focus of concentration takes discipline and practice. Try not to get discouraged if you find yourself struggling with this in the beginning. With consistent practice you ’ll get better and better at controlling your concentration.The end result of changing your self-talk from demeaning to encouraging and training your concentration to stay in the now, leaving the past in the past is that your body will stay loose and relaxed. Remember your experience of physical and emotional stress is a direct result of negative self-talk and the wrong focus. When you get control of both your self-talk and focus you’ll end up finding that you are much calmer whenever you perform.

WWW.COMPETITIVEDGE.COM FOR THE LATEST IN MENTAL TOUGHNESS TOOLS, SERVICES AND RESOURCES. CALL Dr. G today at (413) 549-1085



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PARENTS’ CORNER “ Managing strong emotions during and after the game”

Scene I: It’s a crucial point in the game, if you can imagine any point in a child’s game being “crucial.” There are runners on the corners and two outs. It’s the bottom of the bottom and the team’s last chance to steal victory from the slowly closing jaws of defeat. Your little boy steps up to the plate and the lump in your throat gets so big that you’re having trouble swallowing. Is your imagination playing tricks on you or does your son seemed dwarfed by the bat? Does he even have the strength to get that thing all the way up to his shoulders and if so, how can he possibly swing it?

You have a bit of a sick feeling growing in the pit of your stomach and you can barely breathe. Then again you suddenly realize that you’re NOT breathing! You pray for an act of kindness from the Little League Gods, that somehow they will smile favorably upon your little boy and help him find the strength to lay bat on ball and come through like a champion. You selflessly think, “Oh, let him get a hit, please!!!! Just for him. It will make him feel so good about himself!”

But alas and alack. The Gods of the Little League Diamond are not listening. They are either working a different game or dining out at the time. Your boy strikes out swinging and the game ends with a flood of disappointment. His head goes down. His tiny shoulders drop. His lips begin to quiver and then the tears start to fall. Your heart is breaking for him. He walks back to the dugout and his coach appropriately tries to console him. It doesn’t seem to help. Later, when he climbs into the safety of the back seat, the tears turn into a torrent.Your husband seems to be triggered by this “unmanly” show of emotion and wants him to “suck it up and be a man.” You silently kick him in the front seat before he says something that you’ll all regret.

Scene II: The tennis match has been close up to this point and miraculously, your son has managed to control his anger and maintain his composure. However, on a hard fought point that would have given him the game and first set, his opponent makes a close call. You can see from where you’re sitting that it was a fair call. The ball was indeed out. Your boy’s loud, “you gotta be kidding me!” response let’s you know that “it” is starting to happen all over again. Whether you call it a melt down, mental breakdown, implosion or temper tantrum doesn’t much matter. All that does matters is that “it” is downright ugly. He starts mumbling to himself as he gets ready to serve the next point but he’s too angry and distracted to be playing. He double faults and immediately whacks himself in the leg with the racquet letting out a loud, “you suck!”

As you sit there a mix of uncomfortable feelings washes over you. You feel embarrassed and would either like to find a hole to crawl into or to make it clear to all around you that this is NOT your offspring. You want to throttle him. You wish he’d just grow up and pull it together. You feel sad and pained watching him struggle again. It's at that point that everything seems to quickly go downhill. He throws his racquet three times, he accuses his opponent of cheating and then he's finally defaulted by a tournament official for unsportsmanlike behavior after three warnings.

 

You're a parent watching these scenarios. What should you do when your child becomes a victim of his/her own strong emotions? Well, first off, let's talk about what you shouldn't do. If your child is behaving badly in a competition, you shouldn't just sit back silently and watch. Over the years I have always talked about a parent's role of being one of support. Parents should never coach. This is not your job. Instead you need to be your child's 'best fan.' However, this does not mean that you have to be a fan of inappropriate behavior! If your child's anger is totally out of control whenever he/she competes and things go badly, then it's your job to intervene in an attempt to put a stop to the bad behavior.

This means that if you see your son or daughter being unsportsman-like, cheating, throwing a temper tantrum, acting haughty or mean, then you need to find a way to put a stop to the offensive behavior, either right then and there or shortly after the event. If you say and do nothing and let the bad behavior slide, hoping to avoid an even bigger explosion or hoping that the problem will just go away, then you are inadvertently communicating to your child that his behavior is acceptable in your eyes. Remember, one of our jobs as parents is to teach our kids how to be good, responsible human beings. As long as you are not 'coaching,' your job as a 'behavior coach' continues into the athletic arena.

So how does one intervene as a parent if your child is having an emotional meltdown during a performance? The first rule of thumb, is to try to intervene without any emotion on your part. There's no question that watching our kids compete in sports is highly evocative. When you add to it the fact that your child is acting badly and possibly embarrassing him/herself as well as you, then it's easy to get mired in your own strong feelings. As you're probably well aware, whenever we respond from an emotional place, we are usually pretty stupid and ineffective. If part of your job as an effective parent is to continually model appropriate behavior, then you don't want to respond to your child's temper tantrum with one of your own. So no matter what you say to your child, try to come from a calm, centered place of your own.

On a somewhat related note, whenever possible, try not to further embarrass your child by what you say to or do with him. Timing is everything. You do not want to purposely humiliate him for his transgressions. Humiliation is not part of effective parenting. Of course, if your son is smack in the middle of acting badly and you absolutely feel that you need to intervene by pulling him off the field or court for his behavior, then there is no way to avoid further embarrassing him. In this kind of situation he will be embarrassed by what you do. However, under certain circumstances I'm not so sure that this is such a bad thing as long as you spend a good amount of time afterwards helping him understand why you did what you did.

Also related, it is critical that you clearly communicate the message to your child that her behavior is unacceptable, that you will not tolerate it and therefore it must stop. You can’t afford to be ambivalent here. You must be clear and firm. When tennis legend and emotional 'iceman' Bjorn Borg was a young teenager, his anger was totally out of control. He would regularly throw his racquet, curse and carry on quite badly. His parents reached a point where they told him that if he lost control one more time, he would no longer be allowed to play the game. Miraculously the offensive behavior completely stopped. You should be that lucky! Through all your interactions with your child, try to get at what your child is feeling. Don’t just lecture him/her. Ask her what she is feeling. Ask her what goes on for her out there. Try to put yourself in her shoes so that you can get a flavor of her experience. While you want to set clear and firm limits, you first want to try to understand what is going on inside your child. To be effective when you do this you must try to set aside what you think is going on for the child. Let them tell you. Open your mind and ears so that you can truly listen. Listening is probably one of the most powerful parenting tools that you can use. Listening will oftentimes lead your child to feeling understood.Sometimes your child’s out of control emotions or competitiveness resist your very best efforts. No matter what you say or do, he is still unable to gain control of his temper. Then what should you do? First, understand that there is much more at stake here than a tennis match or a baseball game. For whatever reason, the situation triggers very powerful emotions in your child and you need to get some professional help in handling it. When your child struggles with extremely strong feelings that’s a good indicator that there is something else going on here. Do the smart thing. Contact a counselor.

DOES YOUR CHILD HAVE A PERSISTENT PERFORMANCE PROBLEM? Does she get too nervous to perform her best? Is he immobilized by fears? Call Dr. G today at (413) 549-1085 for more info on his online coaching service.


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COACH'S OFFICE“ Stay in emotional control to keep control”

Conversation between D-I athlete and yours truly:

“My coach is a yeller! I wouldn’t admit it to him, but he really scares me. If I do just one thing wrong he goes ballistic. I mean, how does he even expect me or anyone else on this team to concentrate when he’s standing there on the sidelines totally freaking out? I really hate it! And it’s as if he missed the other 9 things I did right! He’s only interested in when we screw up. I think he’s a big part of why I seem to have trouble relaxing on game day. I never know when and if he’s going to lose it and rip my head off. Why is it that these coaches think they need to yell and flip out to get their stupid point across? I could hear it so much better from him if he’d just calmly tell me what I did wrong and what I need to do to correct things. It’s as if he’s not capable of having a normal conversation. He’s always so ticked off. I’d never tell him this, but I’ve totally lost my respect for the man. And I’m not alone on this team. A lot of the guys feel exactly the way I do. When he goes ballistic like that, the guys joke amongst themselves about what a total ass he is. Tell me, how are you supposed to respect someone who doesn’t respect you and who loses it like that?”

So has the kid got a point or is he just another pampered, self-centered, malcontented crybaby who needs to be continuously pushed out of his comfort zone until he grows up and toughens up? Well, in this case, no. The athlete is a well respected, highly disciplined leader on his team who has absolutely no problem at all with working hard or taking on responsibility. With this athlete it’s “what you see is what you get.” He is quite accurately calling the situation exactly like it is. The biggest problem on this team is the coach and his out-of-control emotions.

As a coach do you really need to get emotional to be a great motivator? Do you have to be angry and yell to get your players’ attention and convince them that you mean business? Do you operate on the communication principle that the louder you present your message, the more chance it has of successfully penetrating the craniums of your intended receivers? Do you really think that your athletes won’t respect you unless you yell and rant and rave? Are fear and intimidation the only major “power” tools in your coaching toolbox?

Back in the good old days of sports, when real men were men and the only “true” sports were football, basketball and baseball, fear and intimidation were the coaching specials du’jour. The coach’s word was quite close to the word of the almighty and quite often coaches ruled with an iron fist encased in fear. If the coach told you to leap a tall building with a single bound or run faster than a speeding bullet, then you didn’t dare ask any stupid questions. You just went out and did it ASAP! Back then many coaches modeled themselves after military drill sergeants. They were harsh, abusive and at times, downright cruel.

Now I understand conducting yourself in this manner if indeed, you’re a drill sergeant training soldiers for war, where one mistake could cost you or your comrade his life. In those situations you want to put the fear of God into your troops so that they understand the importance of what they’re doing and what’s at stake. However, it’s an entirely different thing if you’re teaching preadolescent and adolescent athletes how to “play” a game. Sport is not war, regardless of how many times this inane analogy has been made. Your athletes are not soldiers and no one’s life or freedom is at stake here. When your athletes are preparing for the big game they are not getting ready to do battle. So why get so amped up and flipped out yourself over something that’s quite far from a life and death kind of struggle?

There’s no question that fear is a very powerful motivator. In fact, it’s relatively easy to utilize intimidation and fear from your position of power as a coach. Any bully can do that! It doesn’t take any particular character or skill to push the smaller, younger and more vulnerable around, especially when you’re the adult and you’re working with kids. However, what a lot of coaches don’t realize is that when you do this, you are compromising your relationship with your athletes, and therefore your ultimate success on the playing field. Yelling at, and bullying your athletes may get them to do what you want in the short run. However, in the long run it will not help you earn their respect. On the contrary! If you mistreat them, they will dislike and disrespect you. While you may be able to bully them into following your orders, you’ll never really capture their hearts, and in my opinion, this is what it takes to be a great coach. Coaches who have their athletes’ hearts in the game have teams that accomplish great things.

Since the relationship that you develop with your athletes forms the foundation for the quality and effectiveness of your coaching, it’s always in your best interests to have some awareness of the kind of relationships that you develop. This means that you have to have some awareness of yourself and your emotions. You have to be in touch with your own feelings and not unconscious about them. If you’re a male coach reading this, don’t get all weirded out by what I’m saying here. I’m not asking you to get all “touchy feely” here. All I’m suggesting is that you understand the critical importance of being aware of your own process. Coaches who are not in touch with their own internal processes and emotions tend to destructively act their feelings out in their interactions with their athletes. They explode with seemingly little provocation. They continually undercut their athletes’ self esteem. They sabotage team unity by their favoritism and playing one athlete off against another. They take things out on specific athletes. And through it all, the out-of-touch coach has absolutely no clue that he is alienating his players and setting the team up for failure.

The bottom line: If you are not in touch with your own emotions, then you will more easily lose control of them. I always find it fascinating how a coach can throw a temper tantrum one minute with his players and then turn around and act as if nothing at all has just happened. The athletes he was just emotionally abusing are now his best friends and there is no acknowledgement of, or apology for his loss of control and the nasty things he just said. Actually the behavior I ’m describing is not unlike a two year old who one minute can be having a screaming temper tantrum, and then the next being happy and giggling. Do you think that when a coach acts this way with his athletes, that they can completely forgive and forget? I think not!

Effective coaching has as its’ foundation, a caring, respectful and mentoring relationship with the athlete. Losing control of your emotions and having a sideline or locker room temper tantrum is not part of this kind of caring relationship. Angrily abusing your athletes when you’re unhappy is not either. You are the team’s ultimate leader and teacher. You are the primary role model. You have a responsibility to your athletes and their parents to rise above your own emotions and channel them in appropriate ways. Does this mean that you should never yell at or get angry with your players? Of course not! There are times when strong feelings expressed in appropriate ways are exactly what your athletes need in order to change their behavior. However, swearing at your players, demeaning them in front of their friends, physically or emotionally abusing them or directing a temper tantrum their way are NOT appropriate!Get a handle on yourself. Like it or not, as the coach, you are operating in a bit of a fishbowl. The higher the level you coach at, the bigger the bowl. People are always watching you. Therefore you simply can’t afford to lose control of your emotions. As a coach you can’t afford to be ruled by your anger. Speak and act when you’re angry and chances are quite good that your words and actions will be significantly regretted later on. Not only is staying in control of your emotions the right thing for your job, but it is absolutely necessary for you to be successful on the field and off. Remember, regardless of the level that you coach at, you are in a significant position of power and influence. On a daily basis you are strongly affecting kids’ lives. Whether it’s good or bad, your influence will be felt by them for years to come. Don’t take your job lightly.DR.G (413) 549 1085
WWW.COMPETITIVEDGE.COM

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DR. G'S TEACHING TALES
“ Falling Trees”
by: Robert Fulghum, All I Really Need To Know I Learned In KindergarteIn the Solomon Islands in the south Pacific some villagers practice a unique form of logging. If a tree is too large to be felled with an ax, the natives cut it down by yelling at it. Woodsmen with special powers creep up on a tree just at dawn and suddenly scream at it at the top of their lungs. They continue this for thirty days. The tree dies and falls over. The theory is that the hollering kills the spirit of the tree. According to the villagers, it always works.Ah, those poor naive innocents. Such quaintly charming habits of the jungle. Screaming at trees, indeed. How primitive. How ridiculous! Too bad that they don't have the advantages of modern technology and the scientific mind that we enjoy today.Me? I yell at my wife. And yell at the telephone and the lawn mower. And yell at the TV and the newspaper and my children. I've been known to shake my fist and yell at the sky at times.The man next door yells at his car a lot. And this summer I heard him yell at a stepladder for most of an afternoon. We modern, urban, educated folks yell at traffic and umpires and bills and banks and machines--especially machines. Machines and relatives get most of the yelling.

I don't know what good it does because machines and things just sit there. Even kicking them doesn't always help. As for people, well, the Solomon Islanders may have a point. Yelling at living things does tend to kill the spirit in them. Sticks and stones may break our bones, but words will break our hearts...

Are you or your athlete consistently underachieving or struggling with a performance problem? Call me today, I can help!