A Tool We All Can Use


Posted by Coach Mark Sortino

I'm reading an interesting book right now called "What Drives Winning" written by Brett Ledbetter. It's an easy read with ideas and concepts that many of us already know but are unable to put it into words. For me as a coach, it's a reminder of what's important in the development of an athlete. I've written a few times over the years on recognizing and valuing the journey rather than the summit as it applies to goals and races. I've always felt that the most successful athletes had this figured out. They focus all their energy on the daily training sessions and the processes rather than just the race that's scheduled ahead. From this they "see" life every day and find joy in what they do - even when it's sometimes tremendously difficult.

Brett provides many applicable processes to help get athletes to continue to be very successful. One of his tools I found to be very simple to implement yet very effective is called the "Best Friend Advice Letter". For many athletes, the "pressure to succeed" before an event builds to such a fever that the athlete actually becomes miserable and often performs below their capability. This pressure is self produced and may be manifested by an athlete's fear of failure, fear of disappointment or fear of letting everyone down. So Brett recommends that the athlete, "...Pretend that your best friend is in the exact same situation that you are. What advice would you give her?" He then has the athlete write a letter to her friend giving her advice. Ultimately, that advice is exactly what the athlete needs to hear for themselves. This is a tool everyone can use if you find that you become too wrapped up in the results prior to an event.

So next time you find yourself feeling an abundance of pressure to perform at an event where it starts affecting your daily life in a negative way, pull out this tool and give it a try. If it helps, then add it to that ever-growing toolbox!

~ Coach Mark Sortino

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