• Sport Psychology Tip of the Week

    Apr 26, 2013

    Sport Psychology Tip of the Week

    I observed a scene at a restaurant the other day that I simply must share with you:

    Some dinner guests, dressed in their best, are seated around a table in a classy restaurant.  Busy enjoying their delicious meals and great conversation, something completely unexpected happens.  A cockroach, in all its nastiness, finds itself onto the arm of one of the women at the table.  She becomes hysterical – jumping up and down, flapping her arms in a panic.  Her behaviour is contagious, and others at the table follow suit.

    Eventually the woman manages to get the cockroach off her arm, only to see it land on another guest at the table.  He behaves the same – panicking, screeching…the classy table-scene turns into chaos.

    The waiter rushes over to help out.  Amidst the chaos, that cockroach lands upon the waiter.  The waiter stays calm, observing the cockroach as it moves on his arm.  Gently and patiently, the waiter grabs the cockroach and releases it outside.

    Observing this, I couldn’t help compare how the waiter acted so differently from the dinner guests.  I had to wonder: what caused the disturbance in the first place?  If the cockroach caused the disturbance, why was the waiter able to respond so calmly and controlled?

    You see, it’s not the cockroach that caused the chaos, it was the dinner-guests inability to handle the cockroach that caused the chaos.

    Do errors cause distraction, or is it your ability in handling making a mistake?

    Do bad calls make you angry, or is it your ability in accepting the decisions made by referees and resetting for your next action?

    Does uncertainty make you nervous, or is it your ability to put aside outcome and focus on the process of competing? 

    This is it.  Your last few weeks before the major competitions of the season.  Rising up means you are going to respond to the situations that come, not just react to them.  Prepare as best you can, but know that unknowable happenings will present themselves.

    How can you know that are you able to handle anything thrown at you?

    Carl Nienhuis – VCCE Lead Sport Psychologist