I was in the office of a DI basketball team this previous fall. An outstanding group of staff and coaches because they approach the game the right way. On this particular morning, head coach and his two assistants were going over at length the pick & roll. My first thought was “great!” I get to learn more about the pick & roll, the one play that demands team buy-in.
After five minutes, I was no longer involved with defending the pick & roll. I was now looking at the Mona Lisa from the side. I had zero clue what was going on. This level of explanation and description between the three coaches went six levels deep and so fast! I understood the 1st two levels, but now I felt like I was learning Spanish trying to follow along a conversation between three very fluid speakers. I felt stupid.
In high-school math, the teacher would go through the entire problem on the board. Repetition, repetition, repetition…The light always went on in class and I left thinking, “I’ve got it, I understand.” That lasted until I got home from practice and school, opened up the book to do homework and somewhere in the last few hours, I had completely forgotten everything the teacher did. My notes always seemed to resemble a mixture of math and hieroglyphics.
Not knowing the solution is painful, and uncomfortable. Its like wading our feet in a murky pond. However, the best way to improve is to find a way, figure it out, and make adjustments. True satisfaction and mental toughness result from overcoming the struggle.
Unfortunately, what’s changed is that we no longer have to “figure it out.” We don’t have to remain uncomfortable or find a way. Nowadays, when athletes struggle, there is someone else to provide the answer sheet. We can just look it up or ask someone to fix it for us. If we don’t like the answer, then we can ask someone else.
The system has perpetuated the issue. Since we’ve been providing the answers, why are we so shocked when people expect entitlement? It occurred every step along the path. We removed the learning experience of failing and in doing so actually cheapened the joy of winning.
Dr. Rob Bell is a Sport Psychology coach. DRB & Associates based in Indianapolis works with professional athletes & corporate athletes, coaches, and teams building their Mental Toughness. His 2nd book is titled The Hinge: The Importance of Mental Toughness. Follow on twitter @drrobbell or contact email@example.com
Check out the new film & e-book, NO FEAR: A simple guide to mental toughness .