1w6k1b99tnjW5qLK9QKgJCiG0NE The SportExcel Zone: #2 Rule of coaching and playing: Learn to forget

Monday, February 9, 2009

#2 Rule of coaching and playing: Learn to forget

All great athletes and coaches play their game in the moment.  Thoughts about past losses and mistakes have no place in their memory banks. Let the commentators, fans and parents remember them—not the players and coaches.

One of my karate colleagues taught me to forget. He was unusually obsessed by his mistakes and losses. After the tournament, he would work for hours on techniques and strategies to overcome any weakness he had displayed in the competition. He literally transformed the bad memory into a success—a learning success. And he rarely repeated mistakes.

When you treat past mistakes as a gold mine, they are easy to fix. When you treat them as something that makes you sick (and it will often feel that way), you will avoid thinking about them. And you will learn nothing. Zero! Plus, the negative feelings could be triggered at the worst possible time by some well-meaning (or devious) coach, opponent, parent or spectator.

The faster you can learn to forget, the better. Quit those ‘hang dog’ postures or displays of self-pity. Instead, learn to get back in the game instantly. Your team needs you. One instant of ‘hang-dog’ can prolong your misery (and even bring your whole team down.) And that especially goes for coaches.

So start noticing how professional athletes and coaches move on from mistakes, and copy them. They’ll strike out, miss putts, have mental lapses or be down a few points—and you’ll still see a fierce determination in their eyes.

There are some very powerful strategies you can use to help you to forget. Some are so effective that they can permanently resolve post-traumatic memories involving car wrecks and sexual assaults. Now that’s powerful. If a strategy can do that, forgetting BAD sports memories would be a piece of cake.

Email me today if you’d like some help getting started.

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