Dr. Kenneth Ravizza discusses the idea of self-regulation in order to achieve optimal sport performance.
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The important thing with learning to control yourself is that you have to take responsibility for your performance. Your coaches will help you develop those abilities to respond to pressure situations. That responsibility, the ability to respond is critical. It takes physical skills and it takes the mental skills.
Now, how the responsibility plays itself out? As an athlete, you don't have control of what goes on around you. You only have control of how you choose to respond to it. There are the controllables and the uncontrollables. So often, athletes focus on the uncontrollables: umpires, playing time, field conditions, weather, starting times, all sorts of factors that you don't have control of. All you have control of is your attitude, your effort and your focus and that's where you want to put your attention.
Second part of responsibility is, you've got to be in control of yourself before you control your performance. Self control leads to body control, leads to skill control. Often times, the skill breaks down, not because of mechanical issues, but because of tendon that I discovered when I was working at the Atlanta Olympics. It's called the sphincter cranial tendon. It's the tendon that runs from the buttocks area up to the spinal column.
When you get that tight buttocks what it does is, is it gets your thinking all distorted. So one of the key things we have to learn is to control ourselves before we control the performance. Recently, I was doing a seminar for a little league team, whole bunch of little league teams, and when I was done talking, I can still remember this kid about 11 years old, little boy coming up to me and he said, Mr. Reveza really what you're saying is, attitude is a decision. And I said, you're absolutely right. I stole it from that little 12-year old, fascinating!
The other thing, you have to take responsibility for is learning to manage the moment and play the game in the present moment, because you have to be present to perform, you have to be present to learn and you have to be present to win. To be present, and take the game, one thing at a time, take the performance one moment at a time, there are three things that we're going to be talk about that you've got to take responsibility for.
As we mentioned, be in control of yourself. Second have a plan and commit to that plan and third, trust what you've got and focus on what you have with that performance and don't dwell on what you don't have. The final thing where responsibility comes into play is you have to make a commitment to learn and get better. I remember one athlete telling me, an Olympic athlete, she said, everyday Ken you choose to take a step forward towards your dream, remain the same or take a step back and a step forward doesn't always mean you're successful.
Sometimes you can fail and that failure is positive feedback. That failure can help you get better if you get the information, from the performance to get better. Now, if you're not going to take responsibility, then what I recommend you do, is I recommend that you make sacrifices to the Gods, burn in sense, do whatever, and hope the cosmic forces line up for you, but, I think it's more important, if you take responsibility and use those talents that you have to the utmost of your ability.