Wednesday, September 19

Very Light Again

Today was light as well.

Just stretching, low amounts of pushups, pullups, squats and the like.

I've been working a lot on my mental preparation recently. I mean, visualization and that sort of stuff is regular part of preparation for me (I'd say 5-10 minutes every day) but the problem now is that I see ultimate in my sleep. I picture plays whenever I close my eyes. The danger is becoming worried or letting the weight of expectations and expected challenges weigh me down. But there's a trick to it.

The emotional connection I have to the outcomes for Pike 07 has to be embraced, not fretted over. The excitement I feel becomes second nature rather than something foreign. Each time the nervousness or butterflies or goosebumps come, I imagine the state that I want to be in and push myself in that direction. Calm and confident, but still energized by participating in something I enjoy. The work that I've put in over the year (most of it chronicled in this very blog) gives me something on which to base my confidence. I know that I've put in the work, and now the challenge is not a matter of Failure or Success, but a matter of self-revelation.

I have laid a challenge at my own feet. That is, all pressures foist upon me are my own. This allows me to change the way I view and accept or reject those pressures. In the wise words of Steely Dan, "It's your game the rules / Are your own win or lose." So, when that tightness or excitement wells up within me, instead of fearing it, I take it as a sign that I am just anticipating the challenges that lay ahead. That tightness is just energy getting ready to be unleashed. I take hold of that emotional response and own it. Drink it in. Enjoy it as a moment to be experienced as a part of life.

Just like that sinking feeling after a loss, tightness before/during a game is not something to be denied. You've got to reach in and feel that moment. Experience it deeply and fully for a time (I like 7 deep breaths, for some reason-- I think I may have read it somewhere) and then separate your experience of the moment from your judgment of the moment. They are not the same. The first is a part of life and you must accept it, the second is a second-level choice (whether currently conscious or unconscious) and you can alter that response.

I take those seven deep, slow breaths and experience the feeling fully. Let it wash over me. Then, step back and acknowledge my judgment of the experience. Center myself and proceed. The more I do this, the closer to second nature it becomes. The ability to move on after something painful is a key skill for being successful in both sports and life. It is becoming an automatic process that doesn't' fully require the space of seven breaths. Just as I work to become physically stronger and more skilled as a player, I work to sharpen my focus and remove all distractions so that I can play on instinct without hesitation.

At least that's the way it works for me.
Workout total:
10 minutes strength work
20 minutes stretching

1 comment:

J said...

You gotta love the adrenaline! Embrace it!

I used to get that feeling before every tournament ... now it's only a select few. I've been around too long. *sigh*

Anyway, I fucking love that feeling!