Thursday, May 30, 2024

Defeating the Giant Within…

September 16, 2008 by  
Filed under News, Weekly Columns

( 2 Timothy 1:7
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.

What a powerful sermon the young pastor preached today about that four letter word that begins with “F”. That special word that has robbed so many of their dreams and evokes such negative emotions the minute you hear it. Of course I’m talking about the word FEAR. The atmosphere in the church was electrified as the pastor stood on the pulpit exhorting the congregation on ways to overcome their anxiety and how our lives would be greatly enriched once we mastered the technique of tuning out those negative voices in our head. You know that voice the one that comes as you are about to embark on something new and step out of your comfort zone. I’m referring to that nagging voice that penetrates your subconscious and is constantly discouraging you from taking action and moving forward to realize your potential. It suddenly came to me how often as a coach I’m often called upon to help the young athletes in my program get through this paralyzing emotion on a regular basis. In a competitive sport like basketball there are pressure situations that manifest throughout the contest, particularly during what is known as “crunch time” the end of game moments in which one play or lack thereof could determine the outcome. I think It’s amazing the time many of today’s athletes spend going through rigorous physical training to get their bodies in peak conditioning, yet, spend very little time preparing for the mental challenges of facing and handling pressure situations. Many of these individuals would rather not face the ridicule and scrutiny that’s sure to follow should their efforts fall short, (missed shot at the buzzer) the pressure to perform when it matters most, is scary and a situation many try to avoid.

Below are a few strategies I share with my athletes to help them prepare and overcome FEAR (on and off the courts)

1. At the beginning of the season I have the team write out specific goals they want to achieve for the current season this exercise helps them to set clear, concise and attainable goals it also helps to train their minds to focus on how they will reach their objectives. Many people can envision what they desire, but have difficulty in seeing how to get their dreams to materialize there’s something powerful and unlocking when they write the goals down. Utilizing visual images (a picture or physical sample) are also effective. For a team you could use a replica championship trophy or banner as the visual. At the beginning of each season I to write down specific goals for the team, This blue print helps me formulate practice plans complete with special situations, specific drills and exercises needed to help the team prepare to face challenges.

2. Another exercise I put the team through is to have them share their goals out loud in a group setting for accountability. I believe if you feel so strongly about obtaining something you want and desire, you should have no problem sharing it publicly. What I often notice is a growing confidence that emerges through this activity as individuals stand up in front of the group to share their goals at first with trepidation that quickly dissipates into strong conviction, after all if they don’t truly believe in what they are saying how can they expect others to? This is important as they begin to paint a picture for the audience to follow. It’s important to note that I also point out to them that not everyone will share their enthusiasm, or zeal. But they should not let that discourage them.

3. I encourage them to face Fear head on, you have to desire something so badly or develop an intense yearning to change your current situation that nothing will hold you back. If there is a particular team I know we have a difficult time matching up with, they may have better athletes or play a particular style that gives us problems (press style defense) I try to get the team to breakdown what they view as insurmountable into manageable parts and learn how to aggressively attack the GIANT. We still may not win the game, but the outcome won’t be as a result of being intimidated.

4. Lastly when all else fails in preparing them to confront their fears my goal is simply just getting them to start the process. You see many people become so paralyzed by fear that they never begin taking actions that will lead to the desired results. By taking some type of action toward a specific goal signals progress this could be as simple as starting an enhanced strength and conditioning program to the memorization of a document filled with motivational quotes or specific drills to improve their individual performance. Just by taking that first step helps quell those feelings of anxiety and doubt. A Large percentage of individuals never reach their goals and overcome fear, because they never take the first step!

Written By Tony Price

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