Mindset Made Simple Tip #142 – A Reminder of Who is In Charge! Watch or listen HERE. (This week's video will play be available at 5pm ET).
I’m not a patient person. Most coaches aren’t! I am so impatient that I chose to walk up eight flights of steps numerous times a day during my dad’s hospital stay because the elevators were SO SLOW!
The first few flights were always fine. Then flights 6, 7 and 8 kicked in. I blamed the first run up every morning on my limited glycogen supply due to my early morning workouts. I have no excuse for the later-in-the-day trips.
Glycogen storage or not, steps are hard and they shoot your heart rate through the roof! I like to consider myself in decent shape for my age…until I took my heart rate at the top – 145! WOAH! Take another lap, Jones!
Because I was all into managing my responses last week while trying to navigate our medical system with a father who was not in his right mind (or body for that matter), I decided to make this a test of my ability to manage my state.
I was practicing my mental skills, as I mentioned in last week’s tip, observing, shifting and implementing systems. All of these being TOP DOWN tools.
This week I decided to use my other response-ability and try a BOTTOM-UP approach.
The manage my mindset with my body thoughts began a few weeks ago when I was meeting with Portland State’s softball team. One of their awesome pitchers was sharing the tools she found most helpful as she prepares to perform. One of her favorites is what we call a simple RAPID RELAXATION technique. A simple example of this is tightening up all of your muscles (or whichever ones you choose) and then intentionally releasing them with the obvious result of being more relaxed physically.
Why is this a big deal? Tighten and release. Big whoop!
Here’s why! It reminds her that SHE IS IN CONTROL of her body which directly reminds her of WHO IS IN CHARGE! She decides how she feels in the moment. She is not tossed around by the wind. She is rooted in her intention physically and mentally!
Back to the steps. My body was having its way with me at the top of the steps. Rapid heart rate, rapid breathing and survival thinking all kicked in. Once our heart rate reaches a high enough level (over 140) we move to survival mode! If I can intentionally slow my heart rate with my breathing, I am taking a purely physical response…both breathing and heart rate…and controlling both WHICH REMINDS ME OF WHO IS IN CHARGE!
The key to mental toughness is managing our responses to both mental and physical stressors. Reminding ourselves that we are in charge of ourselves can be a huge feather in our cap when the pressure turns up!
If I can manage my heart rate, I can manage other stuff too!
If Liv can manage her tension, she can manage other stuff too!
How can we practice being in charge of ourselves? Have your athletes simulate stress.
You know as well as I do that simulating pressure in practice situations is hard. One way we found was to increase our heart rates to the point that normal thinking was a bit disrupted. Burpees before hitting off of a T or a pitcher. Sprints before nailing the shot from the corner or the foul line. Up downs before defending the goal. There are a million options!
If you are a business person, this goes for you, too! Maybe sprints aren’t possible in your suit, but you can breathe shallowly, hold your breath to increase your heart rate or be like Taylor Swift and "shake it out" while counting – 8 rapid shakes of one arm, the other arm, one leg, the other leg, then 6, then 4 then 2…and at the end…your heart rate will be up…trust me!
The point is that we get to change our physiology which changes our ability to think, which changes our ability to perform.
Then we regain control…intentionally!
We breathe deeply…longer exhales than inhales. We tighten our pumped-up muscles and release them. We find a way that works for us.
THEN WE KNOW WE CAN DO IT! WE KNOW WHO IS IN CHARGE!
We get better at things we practice. We rarely practice managing ourselves when we are all worked up. And I bet we can get better at managing our state – both mentally and physically – if we manufacture scenarios that mimic pressure…or simply use the ones that present themselves…like 8 flights of steps!
Put yourself in charge! You’ll perform better when the pressure's on!
Manage the moments…and pre-experience them when needed!
P.S. I’d love to help your team adjust their mental game! Contact me today at email@example.com or call/text 234-206-0946 and let’s set up a session or a plan for your program!
Mental Performance Coach
firstname.lastname@example.org • 234-206-0946