If you have played an organized ball sport such as basketball, baseball, or tennis you have probably heard a coach or instructor talk about the importance of setting your feet and stance before shooting, throwing, or hitting. Having a stable, firm base allows the execution of the skill with greater consistency, power, and precision. Not only do I think this tip/tool/skill is important from a tangible perspective, I also see it as applicable to sport and life, metaphorically speaking.
Much of what is discussed in this newsletter and in the sport psychology field more broadly relates to growth. A very important part of this growth process is having an accurate understanding and awareness of where a person is currently with regards to pertinent data such as their skills, strengths, weaknesses, physical state, emotional state, and intellect. Introspection, feedback, and collateral information (e.g., performance statistics, biometrics, health-related data) are all valuable methods for getting a clear sense of the current state of a person’s functioning within a sport domain. In other words, this understanding provides the stable base from which effective growth and the pursuit of peak performance can occur. Athletes who are unwilling to listen to feedback and who don’t take the time to honestly, seriously evaluate themselves have a much harder time growing as athletes and people at least in part because they do not have an accurate, clear understanding of their strengths and weaknesses. Without that understanding, energy is wasted because there is not clarity in the path to peak performance. The path from A (where I am now) to C (where I want to be) may look much different than from B (where I think I am) to C, especially if the notion of where I think I am (athletically speaking) is clouded by defensiveness, ego, resistance, pride, and/or lack of awareness.
As such, insight/awareness provides the foundation from which powerful growth occurs. It is a fundamental part of being a consistent, high performing athlete because it sets a stable, firm base from which energy is directed towards change and achievement. Athletes who prioritize ongoing, honest evaluations of their current state give themselves the best chance for reaching their goals because they are more clear on what their individual journey will look like – their journey from where they are now to where they want to be.