Sports Junkie: Mentality

Change your mindset. Hand holding megaphone
Photo retrieved from www.istockphoto.com.

Caitlin Dorsch ~ Co-Editor in Chief

     Something that Coach Olsen insists that each of his players have is “grit.”  In reaction to Coach’s statement, many players typically think, “I have grit!  I do all this extra stuff, so he must be wrong.” Well, I am here to tell you that you can always do more than you think you can, especially as an athlete.

     Over my four years as a student-athlete on this campus, I saw the potential that each member on every sports team had at the University.  And, I finally realized something that was a weakness to practically all of our teams: mentality. In my opinion, mentality is all about adaptability to a situation.  Our fault is that we typically have fluctuations in our mentality based on conditions outside of our control. It is this uncontrollable factor that causes the mentality of players to drop, to become negative in some way that is against the benefit of the team.  

     For me, the hardest part in a soccer game or practice was to maintain a constantly positive or constructive mentality throughout its entirety.  And, to be honest with you, I would be lying if I said that I every completely succeeded at remaining in a positive mentality throughout one game or practice.  Many times, I allowed those things that were uncontrollable, like others, the rain, etc., change my mentality.  

     It was not until my fourth year on the soccer team that I finally began to let these uncontrollable conditions go and to overcome that nasty part of my brain which acts to crush my internal confidence.  It is that moment where I adamantly told my brain’s nasty thoughts, “No!” that I finally felt myself starting to let go of those uncontrollable conditions. And, to be completely honest, I still find myself regressing sometimes to focusing on those uncontrollable things in real life, now that I do not play soccer.

     There are many times in life where one is stressed, full of anxiety, sad, or frustrated.  And, as a result of their own internal fight, one may decide to project those frustrations or other negative feelings onto others.  So, what can I do? Well, I think of it as a sport or a game. Now, whenever I feel myself succumbing to uncontrollable conditions, I literally tell my brain “No!” and restart.  I refuse to allow myself to have a negative mentality. It is important to note that I am not saying that I am always positive or happy at every moment of the day. But, I am saying that my life has bettered immensely and I have been able to confidently achieve a lot more with this positive mentality, rather than the negative one that I previously had.  All of this, I owe to what the soccer team has taught me at the University of Lynchburg.