In my opinion, one of the great joys of playing sports is that I can let out my inner bitch without apologizing. (and please don’t email me about using the word bitch… it’s the word that resonates with me.)
But it is an interesting thing isn’t it... when you really think about it?
We are allowed to be rough and aggressive and competitive in a way that isn’t necessarily socially acceptable in everyday life (and dare I say for women in particular). Sports is this pure area that allows us to be free from being ‘nice’, even as we teach sportsmanship and leadership and all those other great attributes.
I get that. YOU get that. But do your ATHLETES get that?
Often times women still pay a price for being aggressive on the playing field, or they perceive that there will be a cost.
So many don’t take advantage of this safe space to let it all go. Whether it’s because they are nice ‘Christian girls’ (as one coach told...
You know the feeling. Your hands are sweaty. Your stomach is in knots and you may or may not have to pee like 5 times. Your heart is racing, and you cannot wait for this feeling to go away.
Logically, you know you are not in danger. It’s just a job interview, first date, game, public speaking, or difficult conversation. But your brain isn’t really listening to that argument. Yes, you are safe, but you just don’t feel like it.
Ahhh the fight or flight response. That glorious, automatic reaction of our sympathetic nervous system that has kept our species alive for 200,000 years (give or take). The response that works beautifully when necessary, but inconveniently comes to visit during seemingly innocuous situations like first dates or presentations.
We’ve all been there. And for most of us, we want to stop feeling that way immediately.
Our bodies are literally screaming at us to rectify the situation, change SOMETHING.
But what if the thing we really...
In my experience with literally thousands of athletes, I’ve typically come across two main types of athletes:
1. The athletes that are the same on and off the field in regards to their personality and characteristics. (more common)
2. Athletes that are remarkably different on the playing field and off. (less common)
This is what I mean. An athlete can be shy off the field and really turn it on when the whistle blows. Or they can be sort of the same; introverted in the classroom, on the field, in the locker room etc. The same is true for more extroverted, bigger personality types. Some stay the same whether they are competing or not. Some are the life of the party but sort of fade back when playing their sport.
The shy, introverted athletes are the ones I want to focus on today. Specifically, the ones that are more reserved in their personal life, BUT would play better if they were consistently more aggressive on the field.
This time of year is ripe with haunted houses, frightening costumes, gory props, heart-stopping pranks, and a deluge of horror movies infesting our television networks. And it's all fun, right? The pretend danger, the lure of mystery... these things give us a thrill unlike any other. After all, as I've told you before...
Fear is our body's response to something new, not necessarily something dangerous. Fear is also a tool you can use to improve your game in all it's facets: mind, body, and soul. Sounds deep, I know, so let me break it down...
Who knew scaring yourself could actually improve your brain's function?
In the words of Joseph LeDoux, neuroscientist and author of "The Emotional Brain: The Mysterious Underpinnings of Emotional Life", fear "juice[s] up the brain". It activates our amygdala (the fear center of the brain) which increases our fight or flight response- something that is necessary for sports.
And remember, just as Megan Smith, Assistant...
Sunday’s Super Bowl was Exhibit A of why so many of us just LOVE sports, even when it hurts. For most people, there are very few times in life when so much is riding on a single moment.
No PowerPoint malfunction has grown men throwing punches; no sales meeting has people with painted faces screaming; no last second email makes a city’s collective stomach sink.
This passion, this pain: it’s the price we pay for caring.
Last Monday, after the NFC championship comeback, Seattle was literally skipping through her day. As I visited the doctor’s office that afternoon, nurses were wearing Russell Wilson jerseys instead of scrubs and nobody cared that appointments were running 20 minutes late. In every café, restaurant, and shop, people were talking about ‘The Comeback’. “Go Hawks” rolled off the tongues of old ladies and hipsters, immigrants and yuppies alike. The sun even came out. For...
I work a lot with athletes on fear. Unfortunately, most believe fear is a weakness. It’s not. Our bodies are designed to feel fear. The problem is that we humans commonly lack the mental tools necessary to deal with fear, thereby allowing fear to run our lives.
I had three experiences lately that made me reflect upon fear in a more personal way: two were in the ocean; the last was on a flying trapeze (yes, that’s me in the photo at right).
I was in Hawaii over the holiday. While i was there, my boyfriend and I decided to go snorkeling...Terrible idea.
We had just traversed the rocky shore and immersed ourselves in the water when the tide shifted. We were caught in a washing machine of currents. The waves threw us...