IN THIS ISSUE:
To QUIT or not to QUIT, that is the question. Whether t’is better in the battle to hang by thy nails and refuse to give in or to allow the blissful ease of non-effort and whimp-dom to wash over thee. Drum roll please. mmmmmMMMMMMM. Bring on the clichés! When the going gets tough, the tough get going. The only real failure is in no longer trying, in quitting. Never quit. Never, ever, ever quit! and, of course, my all time favorite. A quitter never wins and a winner never quits! Now that you’re unbelievably inspired, lets talk reality. When are these clichés just a lot of meaningless, motivational hot air spewed out by a bunch of frustrated adults who have exhausted their I can be helpful repertoire and have nothing more useful to say? When is quitting not only OK, but also absolutely essential to an athlete’s further growth and development? And, to be fair to my motivational roots, when are these words of determination and stick-to-it-ness right on and meaningful? When should you really suck it up, face your frustrations, quit your whining and hang in there? The word quitting has such negative connotations attached to it that far too many athletes, coaches and parents go out of their way to avoid it at all costs. They equate quitting with failure and with being a total loser. Unfortunately this is an unbelievably shortsighted way of approaching such a complex issue as leaving your sport. The reality here is that quitting is rarely just a simple black or white issue. There are often many shades to this topic and my intention is to illuminate some of them in this June/July 2002 issue of the Mental Toughness Newsletter. Whatever you do however, don’t you dare quit reading this issue until you’ve finished every last word. Remember what they say about quitters now.
ATHLETE’S LOCKER – When you should never use quitting as an option.
PARENT’S CORNER – When it’s time for your child to leave his/her sport.
COACH’S OFFICE – Don’t you ever quit on your kids!
DR. G’S TEACHING TALES – When things look the darkest, open your eyes and look for a light.
“When you should never use quitting as an option”
First off, let’s get one thing straight: Quitting is not always quitting. What do I mean by this confusing double speak? Simple! There’s a big difference between leaving your sport at the right time for the right reasons and prematurely giving up for any number of wrong reasons. When you do the former you’re being smart, clear thinking, possibly courageous or all of the above. This is not quitting in the true sense of the word. This is not being a loser regardless of what a coach or parent might say to you about it. However, when you do the latter and leave too early, you may be acting stupidly self-destructive, taking the easy way out, allowing your frustrations to run the show, robbing yourself of an opportunity to be successful later on down the road or all of the above.
Let’s face it; training seriously in your sport is a very difficult task. If you do it the right way and are committed to hard work and the pursuit of excellence, then one thing you can count on occasionally running into along the way is the urge to bag it, to give it all up, to pack it all in, to just flat out give up and quit.
Why? There are obvious reasons: First off, getting good in any sport is like traveling a road with tons of potholes and obstacles on it. Sooner or later you’re going to stumble into one of those potholes or obstacles and go down hard. Sooner or later you’re going to get tripped up and bruise yourself or swerve to avoid a big one and accidentally drive yourself off the road into a tree. There is no smooth sailing in sports. If you think that your career should go as planned, then you’re living large with Mickey Mouse in that fantasy world down in central Florida. Understand that to be successful you must and will crash, sometimes once, most likely a whole lot more. When you do crash, you’ll end up losing. You will get injured. Coaches will probably under appreciate or ignore your talents and efforts and plant your butt on the bench. Frustration will at times become your closest friend. In short, you will end up suffering.
Important note to all athletes: Nothing worthwhile that you will ever do in your life can come without one form of suffering or another. Victory without suffering is hollow and personally meaningless. Glory without hardship and adversity is truly empty. It’s the suffering along the road that makes the journey so rewarding in the end.
As an athlete, expect that this suffering will sometimes show up as a crisis in confidence, as a time when you’re plagued with massive self-doubts or a fear that maybe you’re just not up to it. This crisis may be coach generated. You may have a coach who you can’t get along with or whom you think is incompetent, mean or just plain unfair. The crisis may be caused by a slump or string of disappointing or frustrating performances. The end result is that suddenly you’ve lost that fire, your determination to stay the course and now you’re thinking the unthinkable: Maybe I should quit! Perhaps I don’t have what it takes. Maybe I’ve had enough!
When you get to the place of wanting to quit just because things aren’t going your way, take a moment to step back and catch your breath. Quitting out of frustration because suddenly the road has gotten rocky is not the right reason or the right time to pack your bags and head home. Quitting because of repeated failures is not a good enough reason either. Repeated performance problems, slumps or fears, in general should never fuel your departure from the sport. Yes, they are frustrating. Sure, they’re driving you to distraction. However, bailing out just because you’re not doing well or struggling is flat out wrong.
Similarly, leaving because of a lack of playing time or problems with your coach is not usually a good reason. (This is not to say that sometimes playing for a particular coach can be unbelievably destructive. At times, coaches are directly at the root of an athlete’s unhappiness and poor performances. These coaches are demeaning and demoralizing. They kill an athlete’s love for the sport and undermine his/her self-esteem. They refuse to take responsibility for their destructive behavior and instead, blame the athlete. They aren’t open to constructive feedback and play head games with the athlete and his/her teammates. In these kinds of situations where the relationship between the coach and athlete is clearly unhealthy and destructive to the athlete, then it is almost always in his/her best interest to remove him/herself from the situation.) Understand that your coaches will frequently do things that you disagree or have problems with.
You will always be able to find fault with the coach’s behaviors and decisions. What you have to learn to do in these situations is to play the role that’s been assigned to you by the coach to the very best of your ability. You may not like the role but that’s your job on the team. Your job isn’t to evaluate or criticize the coach and his/her decisions.
The decision to leave your sport is best made when you can think clearly without discouragement and emotions being your closest advisors. Quitting should be a well thought out decision that comes from having spent ample enough time taking a close, hard look at where you are and where you really want to go, from examining the issue from every possible angle. A hasty, emotional decision to quit is usually a wrong one. Why? Because when we make decisions based on emotions we can always count on those decisions not being weighed down by intelligent thought. An example:
Sheila Taormina, an internationally ranked triathlete once told me that she quit her quest for a spot on the US national swim team and the 1996 Atlanta Olympics at least 8 times! At the end of a long, particularly discouraging and frustrating workout she realized she was simply kidding herself and should grow up and stop wasting her time chasing unrealistic childhood dreams. You see, Sheila had never even made the finals at an Olympic Trials before, having failed in her two previous attempts. Here she was, a good 27 years old when she started this, her last quest (a dinosaur in the eyes of all the experts) and had only 12 year olds and her old age-group coach to train with! Her doubts and frustrations would come in waves and were, at times overwhelming. So were the odds. Most people in the sport thought she was absolutely crazy to be pursuing such a foolish dream. So when the going got rough, she’d keep quitting.
Every one of those eight times that she quit in tears, left the pool and vowed to never return, she’d somehow find herself back in the water or gym the very next day after having sat with her decision overnight. At the 1996 Olympic Trials she edged out Janet Evans to improbably make the last available position on the Olympic Team. In Atlanta, her relay team won a gold medal and Sheila was suddenly an Olympic Gold medallist. It’s a good thing Sheila kept quitting on quitting.
There are times that leaving your sport is probably the best and healthiest option available to you. If you’re no longer having fun, have lost your passion and no longer get any pleasure from playing and competing, then perhaps it’s time to pack your bags and try something else. Or maybe you’re in a situation where your primary role on the team is a non-participatory one. You are a permanent fixture on the bench and it doesn’t look like your role will ever change in the near or even distant future. If you participate to play and are not, I see no problem with you changing programs so that you will get to play. This is a dilemma that many top high school athletes face after they sign with a good, Division I program. Not only will they see limited to no playing time as a freshman, but also, because this program recruits only the very best athletes in the country, chances are good that they will rarely get to play over their entire four years. In this kind of a situation the athlete has to seriously weigh whether they want to not play during their college career.
I am all for athletes accepting and playing their role to the very best of their abilities for the good of the team. However, having said that I am also quite realistic. I find nothing wrong with that same athlete finding another program where they will be happier and have more of an opportunity to participate and compete. Your sports career does not last forever. Very few athletes will ever make a successful professional career out of their sport. Add to this fact, the concept that sports are supposed to be fun for you, and I see no problem with making a decision to switch teams so that you can continue to have fun by participating and not sitting on the bench.
Keep in mind, however, that I am not advocating that you pack up and leave just because the going gets rough. This I view as copping out. Dealing with hardship, adversity and challenge in your sport and life is what will ultimately make you a better, stronger person. Get in the habit of moving towards, not away from these unpleasant experiences. And above all, think long and hard before you decide to leave.
And if you do quit, hold your head up high. Quitting for the right reasons is no cause for shame or embarrassment. Trust yourself and your instincts here. If you’ve thought about it and leaving makes the most sense, then leave feeling good about yourself, regardless of what anyone else may say.
When it’s time for your child to leave his/her sport
The father painfully explained to me: You see if he quits now, he’ll just keep quitting in every situation that he finds himself in. When things don’t go his way, he’ll just want to leave. I’m really nervous about him learning that his life.
Dad is referring here to his 8 year old son who wanted to stop playing baseball because the coach yells and screams at us whenever we mess up and it makes me cry. His little boy was miserable about playing baseball. He was now afraid to go to practice and he hated games even more. It seemed that the coach became more anxious and therefore even more out of control in game situations.
Is Dad right here? Should he really worry that if he lets his son quit in this situation that it will start an unhealthy precedent where the boy will always choose quitting as his primary method for coping?
First of all, understand that one of your primary jobs as a parent is to be able to keep your children’s sports in perspective. You need to remember that sports are just an arena for your children to have fun and hopefully learn some healthy and valuable life lessons. Sports should not be viewed as larger than life, regardless of how talented your child may be. Part of keeping this perspective is in being able to continually ask yourself, What do I really want my child to learn in this situation? Because of this, it is useful for the father to be concerned about the life lesson his son may or may not be learning by quitting the team.
However, as a parent, it is also your primary job to be able to protect your children, to keep them physically and emotionally as safe as possible while they grow up. If you think that your child is in a physically or emotionally abusive situation with a teacher, coach, priest or other adult who is supposedly in charge of teaching, guiding or otherwise mentoring your offspring, then it is your right and obligation to immediately step in and take active steps to remove your child from the danger.
Having a coach who makes 8 year olds do wind sprints and pushups for punishment whenever they commit errors in practice, who yells and screams at them in games, who embarrasses them in front of their peers is having your child in a seriously abusive situation. The fact that your child may want to quit this unhappy environment is excellent reality testing on his/her part. Why should an 8 year old or any aged child stay in this kind of abusive environment? This father should not worry about his boy learning that quitting is the best way to handle any kind of adversity because this isn’t adversity. What this coach is doing is called abuse. Not only should dad immediately pull his son from this team and ideally find another one for him to participate on, but he should also directly confront the coach in an attempt to get him to change his destructive, demeaning behavior. If this doesn’t work, then the father should immediately report this coach to league officials. Children should never have to deal with out-of-control, abusive adults who masquerade as coaches, teachers, priests, etc.
Please do not worry about the life lessons that quitting such an abusive situation may teach your child. The more important lesson you want him to learn here is that you will step in and protect him when he is at risk. This will then teach the youngster that not only will his parents be there for him should he need them, but he’ll also learn that it is unhealthy for anyone to stay in any kind of abusive situation. Telling your child that life is hard and that he needs to learn to quit whining and just suck it up is a good way to teach him that you have no understanding or compassion for his feelings, that you won’t protect him when he’s in trouble and that remaining a victim in an abusive situation is the strategy of choice. These are not valuable life lessons.
Furthermore, the argument that life is not fair and that we should start early to learn how to deal with mean, destructive people is lost on me when we’re talking about kids. Sure there are an overabundance of wickedly stupid, abusive people in the world. Naturally many of these gems of humanity find themselves in positions of leadership and power. However, it’s one thing for an adult to have to deal with a weekly ration of self-esteem bashing by a stupid, insecure boss or co-worker. It’s a completely different situation when the abuse is directed at a child. At least as an adult you have additional resources, strengths and skills to be able to understand and effectively handle bullies.
Kids, on the other hand are helpless and vulnerable. They do not understand the reason why an adult would be treating them so badly. Instead of being able to see that their coach is an idiotic, terrible jerk, they get into believing that the mistreatment is a direct product of something that they have done wrong, (i.e. drop a ball, strike out, throw the pass out of bounds, etc.) and so feel on some level that the abusive is their fault. Please! I implore you. Help your child understand the difference between appropriate coaching and abuse and do not let them remain unprotected in abusive situations.
Remember also, when it is time for your child to quit you want to help him feel good about his decision and not label quitting as a weak choice. In the situations that we’ve been discussing here, quitting is a strong, healthy choice.
Don’t you ever quit on your kids!
The game wasn’t going as planned. The game wasn’t going as practiced. As a matter of fact, it wasn’t going in any way that it should have gone. It was, in plain English, a spectacularly ugly affair, totally unrecognizable to the coach or anyone watching who knew this team. I suppose that if you coach long enough, sooner or later you’re going to run into one or more of these heart-warming, gratifying kinds of days, even with a good team. Things just don’t seem to work out. No matter what you try, your players seem to be playing with two left feet, stone hands and prehistoric reflexes. They are out of step, out of sync and totally out to lunch. Their timing is way off and they can’t seem to execute, even if their lives depended upon it. This is exactly what was happening now as the coach did a slow burn from the sidelines.
Truth be told, the coach couldn’t believe what he was seeing. His feedback, no matter where it was directed, seemed to fall on deaf ears. It was as if he was suddenly speaking a foreign language and no one could understand him. Perhaps that’s why he gradually began to increase the volume of his voice and sprinkle his instructions with colorful words and phrases that I can’t repeat here. Maybe he thought that the increased volume and choice vulgarity would somehow get his message across better. Certainly that would explain why the veins on his neck and forehead were bulging so and his face had taken on an interesting, bright red hue. As the game dragged on, the players on his bench gradually inched further and further away from him in fear. Soon his two assistant coaches had become strangely and uncharacteristically silent. The calm before the storm?
And that’s when it finally happened. It was just about midway through the third quarter. He just simply snapped, not unlike a balloon that’s been pumped with just a little too much air finally explodes. I’m not sure what the final straw was. One more stupid mistake on a day chock filled with them. One more broken, unrecognizable play. Another dropped ball. No one listening? Who knows? All I know is that I saw the clipboard break in half on his knees before I heard the loud snap. During the ensuing timeout he blasted his team. He used every derogatory phrase he could think of and then some. He would have made an Army drill sergeant blush. He called them losers and quitters. He told them in all the years he’d coached, he’d never seen a game played as bad as the one they currently in. He questioned their manhood and challenged their toughness. He told them that he was completely embarrassed that he was their coach. His foaming at the mouth tirade made me flinch.
Now some more sensitive souls in critiquing the coach’s comments might think he made a complete fool of himself and no one else. Others listening might self-righteously believe that his players deserved everything that they got from him and that his tirade was necessary. I’m not so sure that it’s ever necessary or justified to act that way as a coach. No game is ever worth that much.
Call it what you want. The coach emotionally lost it. And that’s when, in my opinion, he really screwed up. He quit on his players. He just walked off the field mumbling something about the team being so bad that they didn’t really need a real coach anymore, especially if they weren’t going to listen to what he had to say. What they really needed was a janitor to clean up all the shi!?!**%$ because the smell here is so bad. His players stood there speechless as he headed for his car in the adjacent parking lot and drove away! An inspiring motivational move on his part! If I was on the team I’d sure be ready to get my act together now.
So when the going gets tough, the tough get going? Is that what this coach was modeling for his players and fans? The way to overcome adversity is to hang in there and persevere? A winner never quits and a quitter never wins? Right! Is this semi-temper tantrum some kind of sophisticated emotional intervention that will miraculously motivate his players to greater performance heights? I think not! I think that the coach just temporarily misplaced his functioning brain cells and let his Reptilian brain take over! Nothing more. Nothing less. He lost it emotionally and then he quit on his players. He abandoned them. Not so surprisingly, the team continued to stink the place out for the rest of the game. Truth be told, they actually got worse, given how distracted they were that the coach had left them.
I’ve seen basketball coaches leave the bench and go up into the stands during a game because they couldn’t stomach what they were seeing out there on the court, gymnastics coaches walk off the floor right in the middle of a gymnast’s routine because they were displeased with the quality of their gymnast’s performance, swim coaches leave the pool deck while their athlete was still swimming because her splits were so slow, a skating coach turn her back to the ice just as her skater went by to express her displeasure with the athlete’s poor excuse for a program and a football coach rip up the game’s playbook before disgustedly leaving the field in the third quarter because his team’s play was so bad. What we have here is a new motivational cliché for coaches: When the going gets rough, the coach makes like a tree and leaves!
Help me out here please. Is it that I’m terminally too nice? Am I missing an important point here in believing that leaving your athlete or team when they’re struggling is immature, insensitive and stupidly counterproductive? Is my problem that I never learned the motivational value of a good temper tantrum sprinkled with a dash of humiliation and embarrassment? What’s my problem?
As a coach I don’t have to tell you how critical it is for an athlete of yours to never, ever give up. You are probably well aware that persistence in the face of adversity is the secret to success. Those who quit or prematurely turn back from this adversity rarely get to enjoy the thrill of victory. Those who persist, even if of lesser skill or lower talent level than an opponent will ultimately accomplish their goals and emerge on top. So if this is true for the athletes, why should it be any different for coaches? Quitting your team because things are getting frustrating is a sure-fire recipe for failure and teaches your athletes the wrong lessons about persistence and hanging in there.
As a matter of fact, tenacity and dogged determination is such a rare and valued commodity that it can’t always be taught to athletes. Coaches can talk about the importance of relentless persistence. They can encourage the pursuit of hard work and a never-say-die attitude. They can even model these characteristics in all their interactions with their players. However, this does not guarantee that the athlete will adopt them.
Quitting on the other hand can be easily taught. I think it’s far simpler to train someone to consistently take the easy way out rather than the more difficult one. The primary method that coaches employ to do this with their athletes is never so much in what they say as in what they do with them on a day-to-day basis. Modeling is by far one of the most powerful teaching tools available. You teach far more in how you are than in what you say. It’s the old cliché, I can’t hear a word that you’re saying because your behavior is speaking too loudly.
So before you decide to let your emotions run the ship and sail away in the middle of your team’s game or performance, ask yourself the following questions What do I really want my athletes to learn from this intervention/interaction? Is this the best way for me to teach them this lesson? Is this lesson consistent with what I am modeling in my behavior of leaving?
I’m not naive. It’s not realistic, nor even healthy for you to keep a Mary Poppins-like smile on your face at all times. Even the best coaches get angry and frustrated with their athletes from time to time. The key issue here is what do they do with their frustration and anger. If you can’t find a way to constructively channel it then you’re better off sitting on it and keeping it to yourself. Otherwise you risk making a fool of yourself and losing your team’s respect. The very last thing that you want your athletes doing is quitting, so why model for them what you don’t want them to do?
DR. G’S TEACHING TALES
When things look the darkest, open your eyes and look for a light.
Don’t go it alone. When you repeatedly stumble and fall, look for help. When your frustrations have reached epic proportions and you’re ready to pack it all in, don’t give up yet. Don’t quit! Get help! Winners make use of all the resources available to them. You don’t have to struggle alone. Be smart about this. Why re-invent the wheel? Go ask people who have already been down that road and know where the potholes, bumps and dead ends are.
She was a high school All-American. She was an unbelievably talented runner with a passion for running. She loved to train and never experienced it as work. While teammates bitterly complained about tough workouts she would smile and attack those training sessions as if she were a kid that had just been let loose in her favorite toy store. She was a coach’s dream: A great all around person, highly coach-able, self-motivated, goal driven and willing to do whatever it took to become successful. Her attitude, work ethic and love of the sport carried her all the way to Cross Country Nationals as a senior. She was seriously looked at by a number of Division I schools, but instead chose to attend a D-II school out west.
Freshman year went well. She was all conference in XC, Winter and Spring track and was awarded the rookie of the year. Sophomore year she lit things up and won conference in cross-country and then won Nationals! As a consequence, shewas suddenly thrust into the national limelight. She got written up in a number of national publications, including Sports Illustrated and then the media began to show up on campus and at her races. Everywhere she went people began to recognize her. At races people feared her. She was a little surprised and embarrasses by all this attention. She didn’t know it, but this was the beginning of the end for her. This was when all the problems started.
She went into the winter track season after winning XC Nationals with a completely different headset than she had ever had before. For the first time in her career she felt that she was under a tremendous amount of pressure. She had all these new expectations that she felt she had to live up to. She worried about letting her coach and teammates down. She worried about what the kids back at school would say if she didn’t win. She began to entertain the what if’s before her races. Anxiety and runaway nervousness started to crowd out the enjoyment that had always been an integral part of her running. This only got worse as Winter Nationals approached. She felt like she had the weight of the world on her shoulders. Everyone expected that she would win. She couldn’t sleep for the week leading up to the 2mile. By the time race day rolled around she was sick to her stomach. She threw up before the race’s start. Filled with dread, all she wanted was for the race to be over. Despite getting a great start and leading for the first half of the race, she tightened up in the second mile and finished a disappointing 15th with a time that was much slower than normal for her. She returned to campus embarrassed and confused. How could this have happened to her?
She continued to enjoy training but a new feeling seemed to creep into all her races during spring season. She just couldn’t seem to shake the experience at Nationals. That same sense of anxiety and dread was always waiting for her before all of her more important races. While she continued to do just fine in the less important dual meets, bigger meets were a completely different story. They were no longer fun. Furthermore, she’d always seem to get too nervous pre- race, tighten up and then die midway through the event. Despite qualifying for Nationals in spring track in the 2 mile, she felt her season had been one disappointment after another. Once again, she went into Nationals with that same tight and pressured feeling. Vivid images of winter nationals kept crowding into her mind. Despite being one of the fastest runners there, she again ran a slow time and finished way out of contention. Her frustration and unhappiness grew as sophomore year ended and she began to prepare for junior year and the fall XC season.
Unfortunately, junior year was even more frustrating and upsetting. Always running well in the less important races, she’d tighten up and fall apart in the bigger ones. Her sense of dread as she approached those races was becoming unbearable. In both XC and winter nationals she choked badly, throwing up before each race and running far slower than her ability. It was immediately after winter Nationals, junior year that she finally made her decision.
She was through! She’d had enough. Running was no longer fun. She was performing poorly. There was nothing but frustration and heartache in the sport for her now. It was time to pack it all in. Oh, she’d continue to run for fun, she explained to herself and her coach, but there was no way she could do the competing thing anymore. She was just too tired of letting herself and everyone else down. Besides, her confidence was at an all time low and there was absolutely no point in torturing herself any longer. Quitting was the only way to go.
No one can call this athlete a quitter. She was a dedicated, hard working committed athlete. No one worked harder than she did. She was a fierce competitor. However, everyone has a limit and she had reached hers. Why should you hang in there when your sport no longer brings you the happiness and satisfaction it used to, but instead nothing but heartache? When the passion goes isn’t time for you to do the same? Well, yes and no!
If you lose the passion and stop having fun in your sport, you have to ask yourself, Why? What’s changed? What’s different? If you are on top of your game and you stop having fun that’s one thing. You’ve reached all of your goals. You’re tired, bored or just simply want to try other things. Quitting under these circumstances is fine in my book. However, if you are quitting because of repetitive performance problems and the frustration they bring with them, then I think you are making a mistake. This is the wrong reason to bail out. Why?
Leaving your sport when you’re frustrated robs you of the opportunity to solve the problem. That’s right! I said, solve the problem. Believe it or not, many times there are solutions to these performance difficulties. Usually they are a direct result of your using bad mental mechanics. If your focus of concentration is off, if you get too nervous before and during your games, if you can’t control the negative self-talk that’s whispering sweet nothings in your ear while you’re trying to perform, then you will continue to struggle performance-wise. Understand this! Once you learn to change your faulty mental mechanics your performance will return to normal.
When she reluctantly called me on the phone it was just to keep her coach happy. She had agreed to try talking with someone but inside she knew it was pointless and that quitting was her only option. She was totally taken aback when I asked her if she’d be surprised at how quickly she’d get over the problem. Just because you think that there’s no solution to your problem doesn’t mean that there isn’t one out there waiting for you. When you’re stuck and struggling you almost always need an outside perspective to get yourself back on the fast track.
The good news: After she explained her history and problem to me it became clear that her performance difficulties were completely related to mental mistakes that she was making both before and during her races. She was putting too much pressure on herself. She was much too focused on outcome and results. She was overly concerned with how others would view her and too worried about her competition beating her. When your focus is off in this way it will be impossible for you to perform to your potential. Furthermore, this kind of concentration will guarantee that you are much too nervous and physically tight to do your best. In order for you to perform to your capabilities you must focus on YOU, keep your concentration in the NOW and be able to stay loose and relaxed under pressure.
These concepts and mental skills are relatively easy to learn. Within a short amount of time she was back training with her team feeling more comfortable and happier. With a new, improved focus she ran well in her first race back. The nervousness and dread began to disappear. As her concentration improved, so too did her other performances. Armed with the ability to stay calm under pressure, her confidence grew. She started to enjoy racing again. At her last Nationals, the race that had caused her so much heartache and disappointment in the past, she was able to stay relaxed and focused, the first time since freshman year! She finished in the top 4, had fun at the meet and ended her career on an up note. More important, she learned a number of valuable lessons about mental toughness and quitting.
When the going gets rough…stick around a bit!
If you are struggling with a performance difficult or you’re consistently underachieving, call me today. I can help!
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