In this article I'm going to be talking about a subject that has just recently been brought to my attention. Although I've been teaching it a fair bit of recent years. I've learned so many new applications for it recently, so I've brought it forward. I would have spoken about it a little later in the series, but I think it is pretty darn important that we talk about it earlier rather than later, and that is understanding that "practice makes perfect".
There is a time to look at results and a time to focus on process or the action steps required to get the result.
I noticed the importance of this a number of years ago when I began doing work with some of the best junior tennis players in our country.
I would be traveling around the country observing and coaching these very talented individuals. I would always ask this question "what is the most important part of your game at this high level of competition? The physical part, meaning the skill and fitness, or the mental and emotional part"? In every case the answer was the mental and emotional. Mostly because at the highest level of competition all of the players have a great deal of skill and fitness.
The second question I would ask is "how much time per day do you put into practicing the mental and emotional side of the game"? What do you think the answer was? you guest it, "none" I couldn't believe what I was hearing, and it was consistent all over the country, the most important part of their game was receiving no time or attention. And what was even worse, when I observed the players practicing I would notice that every time they made a mistake they would get frustrated and angry.
So let me ask you a question, what happens when you repeat an action over and over? That's right it becomes habit. So in essence what these tennis players were practicing was anger and frustration, so guess what happens under the pressure of competition? They would get angry and frustrated when things didn't go their way, which causes tension and tightness in the body, which doesn't allow the athlete to play at their best, which in turn causes more negative emotion and the cycle just keeps compounding until the player smashes the racquet on the ground or throws it over the fence!
Now right about now you might be asking what has this got to do with me? How can this help me? Well I think the same thing happens with many people. They practice negative emotions every day.
There are many situations during the day when little challenges present themselves, (some people call them problems, but we don't anymore do we?) where with a little bit of positive thought and discipline we could come up with a positive response, but we don't. We get a tiny bit angry or frustrated, we take the easy way out and let our emotions control us, we have a lazy approach to our emotional mastery.
Do you remember the "Law Of The Farm"? 1 cent doubled every day works out to be almost 11 million dollars.
Well we need to apply this law to our emotional lives. Look at these seemingly insignificant challenges as tremendous opportunities to practice our positive emotions. If you do this at every available opportunity, you will notice yourself having more and more positive responses to life's little challenges. You will amaze yourself at how different your emotional responses can be even under the most trying circumstances.
So continue to ask yourself the question "what emotions am I practicing"? Because practice does make perfect, but what do you want to make perfect? Your negative emotions, I think not. So let's make sure we are practicing the good stuff!
Till next time, remember you only have your bad habits to lose so,
GO FOR IT!!
All good things,
Mick Hawes THE HEAD COACH
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By: mick hawes