Thursday, January 28, 2010

Take Out the Trash!

Today I sat down with a baseball team and we talked about "taking out the trash". You know, the kind of trash that stinks, builds up quickly, and doesn't just "magically" disappear. I'm talking about the trash that we fill our minds with! More specifically, I'm talking about the thoughts we have that are detrimental to our performance such as:
  • "what if I mess up?"

  • "what does coach or my boss think of my performance?"

  • "I'm not good anymore"

  • "I would be playing better if I had a better coach"

  • "James is better than me"

  • "I just don't have it today"
None of these thoughts enhance performance, SO GET RID OF THEM! Sport Psychology Consultant Dan Gould calls it, "stinking thinking". And just like the trash in our homes, "stinking thinking" doesn't just magically disappear, you need to do something to get rid of those performance destructing thoughts. It all starts by becoming aware of your thoughts by asking yourself, "Is my attitude or the way I'm thinking going to make me perform better or worse?" It's a simple question, but if your honest with yourself the answer will be clear.

So how do you get rid of "stinking thinking"? After you have become aware of the trash, you need to take it out by replacing it with performance enhancing thoughts such as:

  • memories of success in the past

  • your motivation for playing your respective sport

  • positive self talk (we'll discuss this in another post)
Whether you're an athlete or not, your performance struggles might not necessarily be due to your physical skills or lack thereof, it could possibly be because you haven't taken out the trash in a while, and when were dealing with mental trash, parents, coaches, spouses, or friends can't take it out for you, it's YOUR responsibility.

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