Mental Mondays with Ben Askren: Ben Joins RUDIS in Official Partnership
Combatting a Hypocritical Mind:
In the first chapter of Mental Monday’s BEN ASKREN discusses how athletes are constantly falling into the trap of thinking about things that don’t matter. He introduces the thought of the “hypocritical mind” theory. This theory essentially introduces the thought that the successful athlete must learn how to master two different thought processes. That on the surface appear to be mutually exclusive, but in actuality, is critical to achieving success. He breaks down these thought processes in two categories. The first mentality he describes as the “Cowboy” and the second is the “Hyper Prepared” athlete.
The “Cowboy” is the Athlete:
That on the surface, doesn’t do a lot if things right, but is super confident in him/herself. The “Cowboy” probably doesn’t eat, sleep, train or make weight the right way but when he/she shows up, they win, because they really don’t care that much, which allows him/her the freedom to compete without restraint. The reality in wrestling and every other sport, is athlete’s tend to think about a lot of different things that have no bearing on the outcome of performance (e.g. your parents, your girlfriend, opponent, rankings, techniques, what their opponent looks like, the school they wrestle for….). The “Cowboy” doesn’t focus on any of those distractors because he/she doesn’t think about any of those things and that’s a big reason why they have success.
They Hyper Prepared Athlete:
The flip side of the prepared mentality is the “Hyper Prepared Athlete”. This individual does everything right. They eat, sleep, train and live the right way. These are all great things but can potentially lead to a couple negative outcomes. The “Hyper Prepared Athlete” is often times a type “A” personality. These individuals spend a lot of time preparing in all the right ways. But, they also tend to focus on too many negatives. The second, potentially negative, outcome for individuals with this mentality, is their mindset. There are many different variables that could arise in competition that are outside of their control. This could disrupt them in the midst of competition. The problem with focusing on things outside of their control triggers a significant drop off in their performance.
As coaches we love the “Hyper Prepared Athlete” because they are doing everything we want them to do, but many times we do them a disservice by praising all the right things they’re doing. In reality coaches should push their athletes to let the side of their mind that doesn’t care, to enter their stream of consciousness.
The Guy Who Doesn’t Care:
So, on the one hand you have the guy that doesn’t care. He wins because he doesn’t let any of the outside influences affect him. On the other side of the coin you have the great preparer, who wins because he’s doing everything right but worries about things too much. The best wrestlers are able to pair both mentalities to create a powerful force. They are able to do everything right, while also not letting distractors creep into their thoughts.
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