I started getting good at basketball in high school. I was physically growing into a more athletic body and my hard work in the gym and weight room was finally paying off. I remember it being an exciting time as I made varsity as a freshman and was zeroing in on basketball being the one sport I was going to fully dedicate myself to.
Unfortunately, the girls around me didn’t share in my excitement, especially the ones who were slowly watching their ‘best’ status fade away, either because their 5’10” stature in middle school wasn’t really cutting it anymore or because the mall was more important to them than working on their jump shot.
So I remember that initial positivity about my success slowly disappearing and jealously, back-biting, and general nastiness taking its place.
My game slowly started getting worse as a result of this negativity. I’d stop shooting and focus only on passing to make other teammates happy. I’d keep my points...
Old habits aren’t necessarily bad habits...but they can turn into them down the road.
I remember having to completely change my jump shot in high school. I had started working with a new coach who told me point blank, "Your set shot might work now in high school, but it’s going to get thrown out of the gym in college."
It was time to get worse before I could get better.
And so began the slow process of completely changing and unlearning a skill I’d practiced for over 10 years and relearning it all over again. One might look back and minimize it; after all, learning something new at 16 years old doesn’t sound like that big of a deal.
But I remember the experience pretty clearly: the resistance, the emotional pain, and the pretty much constant frustration. After all, the idea of working really hard and getting worse at something is a tough pill to swallow, even for a 16 year-old.
It was made even more difficult because I was...
There’s a lot out there about positivity and the importance of having a positive mindset: talking to yourself positively, talking to your kids positively, even talking to your pets positively. (Groan... Yes, it’s a thing!)
All this positivity can be a bit much.
And that’s saying a lot, especially coming from someone like me who’s a big believer in the power of the glass-is-half-full mentality. The complication with positivity is that it can be hard to distinguish what is actually helpful and what is just, well, fluff.
That’s why I want to talk specifically about self-talk. Because, self-talk serves as the basis for so many things in our lives: our beliefs, our outlook, our confidence, how we interact with others, and much, much more. But I don’t just want to talk about self-talk alone, I also want to dive into the research behind it to make sure this isn’t just another ‘positive self-talk is great’ article. Yay!
Photo from giveitbackfoundation.org
In an effort to keep things short and sweet, we wanted to share a couple of audio clips from an interview Positive Performance's Co-Founder Lindsey Wilson conducted with 2012 silver-medalist and Volleyball Olympian Courtney Thompson.
Being a great athlete has a lot to do with how one prepares their mind, not only going into the game, but long before and long after. Here, Courtney talks about how she prepares herself.
Born in 1984 in Kent, Washington, Courtney understood early on that having a clear mission was important to her success as a volleyball player. Listen as Courtney talks to Lindsey about...
"What sets Courtney apart is, she battles."
- Hugh McCutcheon, Olympic Gold & Silver winning Head Volleyball Coach
It’s truly a marvel of modern science that we have so many different ways to reduce injuries, minimize their effect, speed up recovery, rehabilitate after trauma and generally allow an athlete to compete with injuries that, even a decade ago, would have kept them on the sidelines.
In my own collegiate years, I used a variety of contraptions I’d never heard of before: a bone-growth stimulating machine, high-powered ultrasound, an automatic pressurized ankle boot, and a pocket-sized electric stimulation machine. I had customized orthotics, mouth guards, braces and one very confusing shoulder sling … custom made, of course.
Physically, I was more than taken care of, and I have no doubt that each one of those elaborate and costly contraptions helped me a great deal. I’m grateful for that. But psychologically, I had few resources to turn to when I was injured.
Teammates, coaches and trainers...