When the coach isn't looking your way

Henrik Hjarsbæk

Henrik Hjarsbæk

Mental coach and sports psychology consultant. Owner of HH Mentality.

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As a player, you never just go through your career with victories and endless good times. Rather, it's the opposite. There are ups and downs. Your ups are great. You feel invincible and you feel like you're exactly where you need to be. Everything is in play. Your ups also cause it to hurt extra when the next period is a downturn instead. Downs are a part of every player's career. For the best of the best, their down periods last shorter than for others.
Henrik Hjarsbæk - when the coach is not looking your way

Your goals, your development, your mindset and your thoughts must be aware that adversity, bad luck, injustice, setbacks and performance problems will hit you.

If you don't agree, you end up losing - all players find that in a given situation or period, the coach is looking the other way from you.

If you're on board with this premise, it's about you fighting to minimise the length of ALL your periods of frustration, giving up, demotivation and just being in a bad mood. We can call this 'uphill'.
Because it is uphill, it is not as easy as it used to be, it is gruelling and it is hard. But you have to get over the hill.

If you don't get over the hill, though, you've unfortunately limited yourself and your absolute potential.

Whew.

You have two options if the coach has lost faith in you

Option 1:

Most players end up becoming introverts and just being passages in their inner dialogue. Here, the focus centers around the most frequent thoughts:

  • "The only thing that will help is if I don't feel like this"
  • "I hope it doesn't continue like this"
  • "What should I do, it's not my decision?"

The above is option #1 and it requires nothing of you. It comes naturally.

These thoughts don't help you get back into the starting line-up, instead they make you more stuck. The thoughts are also a reflection of your effort, or lack of it. Here, your thoughts signal that you are simply crossing your fingers and hoping for a result. For example, the result that "it" will soon be over. The best players don't choose option #1.

"The best thing that could happen is if it changed"

Option 2:

Just remember that thoughts - can - control you, what you do and who you are.
But, you can't just think positively. Nor can you succeed in controlling your negative thoughts. So what do you do?

When you are truly mentally unbalanced and digging yourself deeper and deeper into the hole, I wish you at least had a tool to use. You ask yourself the question:

"What is the best thing for me to do right now?"

Let the answer come to you. It will come. You always know, deep down, what is most right, best and important for you to do. Sometimes it's just hidden too far away and drowned in the clutter of thoughts and feelings in your inner mental world.
With the question - What is the best thing for me to do right now? - you're not sitting around hoping for an outcome, a gift or a revelation. This question sets you in motion and is thankfully focused on action. The question helps you:

  • Focusing on doing something here and now

  • To get you started

  • To get you moving

  • To tune your focus to active action

That's it friends. You don't need anything else. Use it and do it seriously. That's all it takes. Once you're 'moving' and working to change the current situation where the coach isn't looking your way, you've got control back. The mental no longer has control over what you do and what you don't do. Now you are in control again. This is where you can change the situation and this is where you are at your best.

Remember that nothing is permanent. It's only permanent that you can see the coach looking the other way when you do nothing to change the situation.
It's not a punishment against you or to you. It is merely a test. It is a test for you and that test you must succeed in.

*Henrik Hjarsbæk is the owner of HH Mentality. Click here to read more.

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