Updated: Feb 21, 2022
Mindset Made Simple Tip #84 - Watch or listen HERE.
In my role as a mental performance coach, I get to see inside a lot of different programs and experience wins and losses from a different perspective than when I was a college softball coach.
Although this view is different, it still comes with the thrills of watching successes and the angst of watching disappointments. As I watch my teams win and lose, I am constantly looking for ways to help the athletes and coaches manage the mental side of the game so they can use their amazing physical talents to their fullest.
Just this morning I watched US Women’s Soccer take on New Zealand. This game is of interest to me because I work with New Zealand’s assistant coach, Keri Sarver, a former US Soccer stand-out herself.
In watching the first half of the game, New Zealand’s defender Meikayla Moore had 3 own goals.
What is an “own goal” for those of you who know as much about soccer as I do? It is the ball that gets into your goal off of you!!!
Notice I did not say you shot a goal into your own net. In this case, Meikayla was trying to defend the goal and THREE TIMES it went in for a US score!
Here is what Wikipedia has to say about it already today…
“On 20 February 2022, Moore scored a perfect hat-trick of own goals in a match for New Zealand against the United States at the SheBelieves Cup, all in the first half; Moore is the first footballer believed to have recorded a hat-trick of own goals which were not deliberate.”
How do you reconcile this?
The only way I know how is to remember that IT GETS BETTER THAN THIS!
I have mentioned before that my cousin Mark is a pastor at a church in Wadsworth, Ohio. A few weeks ago he used this phrase in his sermon and it has stuck with me ever since.
I shared it with one of my basketball teams that was looking for that elusive win and would love to share it with Meikayla today!
Again, as you read the next portion of this tip, our religious beliefs do not need to be congruent. There is a message here for all of us as we look to help those we lead reach their full potential…knowing that what often holds us back is our mindset!
During his recent sermon, Mark took a 3x5 notecard out of his back pocket. It read “it gets better than this.” In this message, he was answering questions about heaven and pulling text from the Bible on what heaven is like. Of course, we don’t know what heaven will be like, but Mark was noting all the good that is to come. He also noted that when we think of heaven, we often look up… “I lift my eyes up to the hills, where does my help come from?” Ps.121 1
This made me think of us on the court, the field or the pitch. When we need help, so often we look down…or in. But we know where our help comes from. It comes from those around us or from the opportunities we need to see. We need to look up…and around…and stay connected to each other.
I would bet a ton of money that Meikayla was not looking up…or around…or anywhere but in the depths of her despair!!
Back to the 3x5 card. If you believe in heaven, you probably have heard of the reference to no more pain or sorrow or a comparison to the Garden of Eden - all good stuff. The card referred to this. That we have not YET finished our journey…and on our worst day and our very best day, we should always remember, “it gets better than this.”
I loved this. On our tough days, it is comforting to know that “it gets better than this.”
What I loved more was that even on our best days “it gets better than this!”
How can I say this when the bottom line doesn’t show it?
Because it does. And we can remind our athletes this - It gets better than this…and so do you!
Miekayla and all of us need to remember that we grow every single day in one way or another.
We learn every single day…you may not even realize it!
We are improving in some way every day, even when it seems we are taking one step forward and one step back.
And maybe most importantly, we are preparing ourselves to face tough stuff through every trial we face, and you know as well as I do that tough stuff comes in life!
We can let a self-inflicted hat-trick define us…or we can let it define us!
It can be who we are from this point forward.
OR…it can sharpen us like stressing our muscles defines them.
It is our choice.
However, just like you don’t get heaven “for free”, to make it better right here on earth today, we have to believe that we are growing, that we are learning, that we are laying a foundation to build instead of back down! We may not see the immediate fruits of our labor, but if you keep learning instead of “losing,” good stuff awaits us!
But, we still have to do the work!
As I shared with my WBB team as they prepared for their win (which they got, I am happy to report) we have lived long enough to know that we don’t always get everything we want when we want it. Meikayla…and all of us are clear on this!!!
We also know that a persistent drip of water can carve a canyon that is a mile deep, 277 feet long and 18 feet wide (been to Arizona lately😊).
We can remind our athletes to be that drip of water that keeps finding a way to dig and make a mark. The water that carved that canyon flowed over rocks and mud and through debris. It was a tough route!
Sometimes it flowed with power and other times it dried back to a drip. But it kept going and look at the beauty it created. It had to pave its own way and when it came to an obstacle, it adjusted and flowed around it.
It made a choice. It could have pooled and stopped somewhere, but it chose to keep going.
Remember, IT GETS BETTER THAN THIS…if we focus on what we can control, if we look at what is working and why (WELL), what we need to improve (BETTER) and HOW, and if we figure out a way to use all the adversity that has been thrown our way to our advantage.
I encourage you to lead your team in this post-game or post-practice well-better-how as a team. I would also encourage you to have your athletes do this individually as well. It helps them keep response-ABILTY front and center!
Win or lose, own-goal hattrick, or whatever adversity the game brings, if we don’t feel like fighting, at least keep dripping.
Remember….it gets better than this!
P.S. I would love to share other ideas on how our words can improve our performance with your team. Schedule a team session today or check out my online courses at www.ssbperformance.com/courses
Certified Mental Performance & Mindset Coach
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