Seven Day Challenge: Remembering the Coin
About a week ago I posted an exercise Remember the Coin Part 1.
Remembering the Coin. It was really a seven-day challenge. I gave the instructions, but no explanation of what the exercise was about. I set it up to entice athletes to want to do the exercise without an explanation of what the lesson was about. I left that part out for a couple of reason.
1) If you know what it is about you are likely to say that is not an issue for me and decide not to give it a go.
2) Another reason is I wanted to show how perhaps language might impact those that gave it a try.
3) And the third reason is that as with many good mental training exercises, I did not want to influence people into thinking that it was one simple construct, but perhaps it had multiple meanings.
So here is part of the reason for the exercise. If you found other significance’s, I would love for you to post them here. At the end of the explanation I’ve added another challenge for those of you that found this too easy. That would be the 10% that passed, not the other 10% that lied or the 80% that failed.
The primary reason to do this exercise revolves around discipline. What almost every person lacks to achieve what they want is Discipline.
From experience, I will tell you that you will always have a difficult time in any training, if you are not willing to do the little things that are involved in success.
This is one of the things I start with in working with athletes. If they are not able to complete this simple exercise, expectations are in need of reassessment. I know of another sport psychology consultant who refuses to work with an athlete that cannot complete this simple task. I would rather use it as a great learning experience and teachable moment. The effort the athlete puts into this process is critical to the long-term effort they put into the sports performance they want to achieve.
The reason this exercise is difficult is in its simplicity. Stupid or silly are words I’ve heard to describe it. Meaningless as they do not see the relevance. In its simplicity and meaninglessness is its relevancy. When an athlete finds that they cannot be bothered with details of training, they often cannot stay on track with many other parts of training. An athlete may have no issue with parts of training they consider important to their success, but other less interesting or fun parts get set aside. For example an athlete, say an ice hockey player, might decide that on ice training is critical, but when it comes to off-ice work the motivation is not always there. I’ve seen this interfere many times with the relationship between coach and athlete, because the athlete lacks discipline to carry out the coaches instructions.
The other thing about this exercise is that it demonstrates a need for emotional commitment to everything the athlete does. In this exercise there was no emotional commitment. The athlete has no blood in the game. Neither success nor failure means anything. This makes completion of the task other than by discipline difficult. We all need to make an emotional connection to what we really want. These connections are what help motivate us to continue when we have reservations. The exercise helps create an emotional connection. If you accomplish this connection, you’ll be a step closer to finding the athlete within you.
OK a couple of other points about how I set up the exercise. I did set athletes up to fail. I challenged them almost to the point of saying you are a failure if you cannot achieve success. However, I also left the gate open and said you can start over should you forget a day. The other thing I did was that I continued to use the word TRY everywhere I could. I asked the athlete to try and meet the challenge. This was really as much for parents and coaches, as the athlete. When working with players eliminating this word can have a very positive effect. Consider that this exercise would be easier if I had told everyone that they could be very successful just by completing this task. Eliminate try and you will see more progress in those you work with. I promise. Give it a try, or rather as Nike says. “Just Do It”
Remembering the Coin: POST SCRIPT
To make the exercise more difficult (for the 10% THAT PASSED). Take your paper and put it behind something. Put it completely out of sight so you force yourself to do it. You can invent other challenges as well. Keep in mind that often times discipline is a habit and to create a new and positive habit takes between 21-45 days. Teach yourself to be a more disciplined athlete and you will find many other benefits.
This is some text prior to the author information. You can change this text from the admin section of WP-Gravatar Mike Margolies: Sport Psychology Consultants ; TheMental-Game.com Mike Margolies is a Sport Psychology Consultant, Certified Mental Trainer® (CMT), Author, and Professional Speaker. When you want to be the best that you can be and the one thing you might be missing is the right mental game - what can you do? Well, athletes from all over the country have been seeking out Mike Margolies for over three decades to help them reach their potential. His clients include professional, elite, colligate and youth athletes in every sport. They have sought his counsel and unique teaching style to learn about the game within the game, or what mental training can do to help them become the athlete they want to be. He has trained professional and elite athletes and helped guide many to world championships and even the Super Bowl. Mike has trained more than 2000+ athletes. He has taught at four Universities and completed research at the United States Olympic Training Center. His new book is called The Athlete within You- A Mental Approach to Sports and Business. He currently works with individual athletes, teams and businesses around the world, both in person and via SKYPE. Mike is based out of the Pacific Northwest. Let him encourage you to play the game within the game. The Athlete within You is waiting to come out play. Learn the rules to the mental game to help realize your potential. Read more from this author