Monday, September 15, 2008

Playing and Competing

I remember many years ago, there was a certain badminton player who was extremely good and had the skills to be a champion. He even won some major badminton championship titles. However, the world titles that he won was always played on home ground. Whenever he went abroad to compete, he came back empty handed or less than that which was expected of him. He thus earned the title "Jaguh Kampung"!

There is obviously a difference between being able to play well and being able to compete at a high level competition where external pressures haunt the inner being of the sportsman. These "ghosts" seek to inflict fear, doubt, a lack of self-confidence, insecurity, and many more negative feelings and emotions that cripple an athlete's performance. The mind that controls all the sensors that allows an athlete to compete is now focused on other distractions. Sometimes an athlete may not even realise that this is happening to him/her. On other occasions, by the time the athlete realises such a thing is happening, it is too late. Game Over! Heads down. Major loss.

I believe that one key ingredient that takes a good player to another level and allows him/her to compete is the development of the mind. Mental strength is the turbo thrust to a person's performance in the game. The ablility to objectively identify and deal with everything that is thrown at a person including feelings, emotions and even physical setbacks; and harness strength from it at game time is the booster to a great performance.

My response to the recent outing of the national floorball team to Australia? We have good players but we were unable to compete. Mental strength was lacking in the games. What makes a person put his head down when entering the rink as opposed to lifting his head up high ready to face his opponents come what may? The ability to draw strength from the inner being. The ability to mentally take the negative that is out there and overcome it; never allowing it to change or disturb the player at any given time. That, was lacking.

Having said that, it is obvious that the preparation for the next outing has to start with the mind. Every drill, every physical activity, every training session and every game has to begin with a right attitude. Solid mental strength will be the cutting edge!

So, prepare yourselves... to Compete!

Some people have asked me, "Why no write up on APAC?"
Well... there it is ;)

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