This week on Mental Mondays:
Ben Askren continues to build on the Hypocritical Mind theory. Specifically, as it relates to the athlete’s mental practice versus competition mentality.
Beginners Mind Mentality:
Ben partnered with a sports psychologist when he was a senior in college. He wanted to research and analyze the thought processes of every NCAA wrestling champion from the last 50 years. One of the most consistent themes that came back from the research was the idea of a beginners mind mentality. Ben goes on to explain what the beginners mentality is.
Mistakes Young Wrestlers Make:
Losing a beginners mentality is one of the biggest mistakes Ben sees young wrestlers make. Shedding this mindset is typically brought on when an athlete experiences a certain level of success. Athletes falls into the trap of believing they don’t need to listen to their coaches and teammates. Which is usually coupled with a stagnation and leveling off of their technical skills and abilities.
Growing as an Athlete:
Ben attributes one of the reasons he grew as an athlete was being a teacher at camps. When he taught younger athletes, he got exposed to new thoughts, ideas and questions from these young athletes. These questions forced a level of introspection on himself, to answer the question in his mind… “why do I do it this way?”. This bred a continued learning mentality, where he began to questioned every detail and aspect of his wrestling. By questioning what he did and why he did it, this generated two different outcomes. It either reinforced that what he was taught to do was the right way to do it, or forced him to come up with new and better ways to execute his technique.
Keeping a Good Mentality:
You should approach practice it with a beginners mentality. Be critical of everything you do. Develop a critical understanding of what you do and why you do it. But beyond that, once you understand why you do something, continue to explore new ways of doing it better. Also, be open to learning and hearing new thoughts. Be open to listening and growing your wrestling mind.
There is the competitive mentality that you must transition into when you approach each match. When heading into a match an athlete needs to shed the beginners mentality. They need to embrace a prepared and confident mindset. The athlete should be thinking, they are prepared for this competition and no one could possibly beat them. They should know they did everything possible to experience success. It can be a difficult adjustment for a person with a beginners mentality. In the sport of wrestling you are never going to know absolutely everything. But, in that moment you know absolutely everything you need to know to win the match in front of you.
Different Planes of Thought:
The beginners mentality and the competition mentality are two divergent planes of thought. Athletes struggle between managing these two mentalities. Being stuck in the beginners mentality before competition, doesn’t lend itself to a successful outcome.
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