Mind Space

“Baseball is 90% mental the other half physical” -Yogi Berra.

 

Over the past month I had felt like I had been in a bit of a slump in a lot different areas.  My disc golf performances were far from stellar, I had the worst rated round I’d ever put up,  I had a massive collapse down the stretch of a tournament to go from first place to 6th over the last six holes.  My climbing  had stalled,  I just was not feeling the drive to go to the gym, after a month of stagnated progress.  Over all I would say I was in a rut, and I was slowly losing enjoyment out of my hobbies.

 

I know that during this time frame I had all of the physical tools I need to perform where I needed.  I had practiced by disc golf. I had trained in the climbing gym.  Physically there was nothing wrong with me.  That to me is what made this stretch so frustrating.  I knew  physically I could do it but I just wasn’t and that was largely discouraging to me. That being said I deduced that the problem had to be mental.

 

I began looking into and looking into my thinking patterns.  One thing I noticed is my thought processes were not consistent.  I could not find a specific focus or thought that had been in my head I had largely been scatter brained during that time.  To me this illustrated a lack of focus and central purpose.   I was leaving myself to ride the emotional roller coaster of all of the ups and downs of every shot.  I know in the tournament I collapsed in, I let one shot dictate the next and the one after that, as I watched the strokes snowball in to several large scores on some holes.

 

So when it came to my most recent event this past weekend The 2017 Frozen Toes, I spent the two weeks prior reading and establishing a mental process for the event.  I knew it would be key to have my mind set have an over-arching focus to keep me centered.  The goal was that this would prevent the emotional ups and downs from effecting my performance.  Secondly when the time for execution came to play I developed another mantra to have me focus on the specific shots I was taking.

 

For the week prior to the event every day I built in affirmations into my day to help center myself.  Every morning when I woke up I told myself I had already won the event, and I had made all of my putts.  I would repeat these affirmations several times throughout the day building in the belief within my that the event was mine.  In my mind I had already won so it was just up to me to execute.

 

This focus was very helpful in keeping me centered during the round.  I though a series of bad decisions, and poor execution took a double bogey 5 to start the tournament.  Normally this would cause me to want to dig in and try harder to get the strokes I had just lost back to try and keep up with the rest of the field.  This time however I knew I had already won, and that if I just executed it would come to me.  I proceeded to birdie the next two holes and make several long putts to save pars to keep pace and be in the mix.

 

At the end of the day I did not win.  I ended up in 2nd place losing by two strokes.  However by working more on my mental game the week before I performed better than I had the previous weeks, enjoyed the experience a lot more, and played closer to what I know my potential is.

 

In the end I attribute a lot more of that performance to being in the right mind space than I do to my physical training.  The right mindset helps you play better and enjoy the process throughout.

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When to go for it.

The gear was small, the holds were small, and the rock was pretty slick.  I did not feel particularly secure.  I thought back into my head and thought process.  I knew my gear was good, I knew I was strong enough to hold on, I’d trained all winter in the gym,  I had it within me.  So with confidence in my ability I was able to move and continue up the route and got the moves and completed the route.

Similarly this weekend I was looking down a 30 foot downhill death putt, missing it had consequences.  I thought about laying it up, or giving it a half a run, but I looked back, I had warmed up practicing that shot, and had made very similar shots in the past few weeks.  I leaned back on my past, my training, and my experience and was able to execute.

While neither one of these are really all that impressive feats, to me they express an important lesson I’ve been thinking about.  There are times when we just need to go for it even when their are consequences if it does not work, and there are times to make the conservative call, to lay up, or to back off.  For me I am more likely to take the conservative play either from lack of confidence, fear or a combination of the two.

It is in those times of fear, and self doubt you need to have a bit of introspection.  Look into yourself and the situation, and ask have I trained for this, what is the risk I’m taking is it real or is it perceived, have I done something similar.  If you know you have trained for this moment, that you have done the work ahead of time, tell yourself you can do it you’ve done the work, you have the capability to go for it.

Understanding the risk is important but knowing you have the capability and have put in the work to execute is important.  If you know you did the work to prepare, (you know how to place good protection, you know you are strong from training) you have earned the chance to go for it.