October 15, 2009
Me, a stick, some balls, and a table with holes in it.
I was looking at my stats the other day, and noticed something. I am undefeated (knock on wood) on one of my teams this season, despite having played more matches for that team than either of the other two – nearly as much as the other two combined.
And I was trying to figure out why that is. As easy as it would be to blame it on the shots we do as a team-building exercise, I don’t think that’s it. I think I’m more relaxed with them, and therefore more focused.
Why am I relaxed? Because the captain of that team has a tendency to play me last – which means I stay late and don’t get enough sleep, but also means that we’ve usually already taken 3 of the 5 matches we’ll play – so there’s not as much pressure. And when I’m coached, I’m encouraged to take riskier shots – which makes me less concerned with failure, since my coach wouldn’t be encouraging me to take risks if he were going to be truly annoyed if I lost.
I’ve been trying to think of how I can bring this relaxation to my other teams – since I know nerves are at least partially responsible for poor performance, I need to up my mental game. So I think I’m going to create a little mantra – me, a stick, some balls, and a table. That’s all that matters when I’m down on a shot – no matter who is on my team, who’s watching, or what the consequences of that shot might be.