After another week of game play on the Bachelorette, lauded sports psychologists fear mental preparation was underestimated as key factor in elite competition.
Probably, at least. I can’t say for sure. I’m not in touch with any, but like, they gotta be right?
Michael Jordan said, “You must expect great things of yourself before you can achieve them.”
Whether you call it setting expectations, visualizing success, or manifesting victory, the emotional security of expecting to win can influence the ability to execute physically and mentally on game day.
These are not steps Clare Crawley has taken. Impassioned sideline interviews belie the underlying insecurity that comes from a fear of failure. Expecting the worst manifests in behavior that pushes one further from their goal, insinuates malice, and breeds self-defeating behaviors.
How can I tell? It was somewhere between crying in front of all the dudes you’re on a first date with, yelling at them moments later, and the completely unlicensed therapy date unleashed upon Jason. Facilitated only by a chalkboard and forced vulnerability.
A little more focus on the team you’re playing this week and a little less on last season’s L’s, my friend.
Prepare, Prepare, Prepare.
Olympic psychologist Nicole Detling says that in volatile environments, athletes must envision the situation.
We can imagine the usefulness of this when approaching a conflict amongst other contestants, or a one-on-one interaction with the HBIC, Crawley herself.
How do you want the play to go? What openings are you actively looking for? What evasive maneuvers have you practiced?
These are not steps that Brandon Gross has taken. Never has a fumble changed possession so quickly. Never has a player been so thoroughly unable to listen, think, and speak – IN THAT ORDER – in the history of the league. Even scared, lithe kickers know they have to try to make the tackle in the backfield. Just try!
The several penalties incurred in the exchange were all avoidable but honestly, satisfying to watch for anyone cheering for the home team.
Baseball Hall of Famer Ernie Banks said, “The only way to prove you’re a good sport is to lose.”
It may be more media training than mental preparation, but professionals know the scoreboard won’t always read the way you want it to. Post-game interviews, sound bites, even the look on your face, they all have to support the idea that you have decent sportsmanship. They take deliberate practice and humility.
These are not steps anyone in this league has taken. Not that dodgeball loser who crashed the party and was called for illegal forward motion, not Yosef who skipped the part in the rulebook about playing shirts vs. jockstraps, and definitely not all the men shown in this week’s preview who don’t understand that league dominance isn’t actually unfair just sad for losers.
We look forward to seeing the myriad of ways the mental game will fail this week. I predict a fun mix of unsportsmanlike conduct and compliance violations. It’s not just getting that Heisman Dale – it’s about keeping it too!
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