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Tip of the Week

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Tip of the Week

Postby natellerandi » Wed Aug 01, 2012 4:27 pm

The Olympics are upon us, which means we'll be witnessing equal parts celebration and heartbreak. Some athletes who have poured their hearts and souls into this "one moment" will emerge victorious; others will experience the agony of defeat. And, victory or defeat doesn't have to simply be defined by winning gold or finishing on the podium. Could be anything that leaves an athlete or team with a feeling of elation or that of complete defeat.

We've all experienced both sensations. Part of why we do what we do and endure what we do is that awesome feeling of accomplishment, surpassing boundaries and barriers, and declaring victory. I would argue we do not endure what we put ourselves through in order to experience disappointment and defeat. What's interesting is that it is during the heartbreak moments when our potential for learning the most about ourselves occur. So, while we don't like these negative experiences, each provides us with a prime opportunity to learn, make adjustments and improve.

I get very curious when athletes experience disappointment, to see how they react to it and ultimately respond to it. Do they make excuses? Do they cry? Do they accept it? Do they get pissed off? How do they process it and move on? How long does it take them to move on? The US Men's gymnastics team unraveled completely during their competition. One slight mistake after another turned into a slew of huge mistakes. The majority of team members folded like a house of cards. The crumbling was fairly massive. Compare this to Michael Phelps who lost his signature event, the 200 fly. His start was average; his 3 turns were abysmal; his finish was lazy. He got more than he deserved in the silver medal and he knew it. To that point, his potential for 3 gold medals had resulted in 2 silvers and a 4th place. He could have packed it in right there. Instead, he came back in the 800 free relay to post the fastest split on the America squad, the 2nd fastest split of the event and capture his first gold of the meet.

So, maybe we need to evaluate exactly how it is we process and use disappointments. Do we allow them to drag us down or do we use them as fuel to propel us toward ultimate success? If after the initial disappointment you find yourself mired in self-pity, try to figure out why. Yes, we need to acknowledge the negative feelings that accompany poor performances (if we don't feel disappointment, to me that's a sign we're not invested in what we're doing. In which case, maybe it's time to rethink why we're doing what we're doing). But, how do we pick ourselves back up -- in fact, why do we decide to pick ourselves back up? And how do we get mentally back on track and move on?

If we can turn the negative into a positive, we'll be better off for it.

Happy Training,
Nate Llerandi
natellerandi
 
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