How Not to Fixate on Things Outside of Your Control
Do you excessively worry before and during competitions?
One component of worry is trying to control variables of performance outside of your direct control.
A few variables outside of your direct control are: getting injured, being benched by your coach, playing against a higher ranked opponent, and competing in poor weather conditions.
For example, focusing on how well your opponent is playing (an aspect outside your control) leads to anxiety and takes the focus off you and your game.
The greatest lesson an athlete can learn is to control the controllables.
No matter how minor it may seem, controlling the controllables gives you a sense that you have an impact over your destiny and that your performance is not dictated by outside forces.
You cannot control how many minutes your coach plays you in a game, but you can control your effort and focus in practice and your overall attitude.
Even if you are suffering from an injury, you are still in control of your attitude, your ability to relax and your overall perspective.
While the 2021 Tokyo Olympics are uncertain, the “control the controllables” mindset is the most valuable tool for all Olympic hopefuls.
Nicole Forrester, a 2008 Olympic Canadian high-jumper and mental performance coach, has helped prepare Canadian athletes for the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games.
Forrester emphasizes the importance of controlling the controllables and letting everything else go.
FORRESTER: “What can’t you control? You can’t control the virus, you can’t control access to a facility, and you can’t control whether the Olympics is a certainty or not, but you treat it as if it is. But you can control your nutrition; you can control your sleep.”
Forrester stated it is important to know the differences between what you can and cannot control.
Staying focused on the aspects you can control is empowering. Focusing on the controllables gives meaning to all the hours you spent training, the sacrifices you made as an athlete and the dedication of pushing yourself to achieve your goals.
To perform at your peak, you need to be proficient at differentiating between what you can and cannot control.
Tip for Controlling Controllables:
Sometimes athletes are blinded by their circumstances. To bring some clarity and shift your perspective, write down as many variables of performance that are under your control, it doesn’t matter how small or insignificant they may seem to you.
You can control your thinking, how you react to challenges, your preparation, and your nutrition.
You can’t control the weather conditions, the field conditions, officials or judges, or your opponents.
When you find yourself focusing on the things you can’t control, recognize this and refocus.
- Mental Skill of Visualization for Athletes
- How to Stay Composed When You Make Mistakes
- Don’t Let Adversity Affect Your Game in Sports
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