Friday, September 24, 2010

Why did the chicken cross the road?

Just a few thoughts before I head into another tournament weekend...

I recently rediscovered my copy of Mental Toughness Training for Sports (Loehr, 1982).When I say rediscovered, I mean literally, as it had been missing and I found it lodged behind my mattress. I'm not sure I've ever read this book cover to cover, but I like to periodically open it up and just read what I find. Its one of several books I keep with me at tournaments to keep my mind occupied while waiting. It helps me keep good thoughts in and and anxious, bored, squirrelly thoughts out.

Today, the book opened up directly to the section on Self-Motivation. How appropriate. So here is a rather longish excerpt (copyright experts feel free to berate me, I'm just to lazy to cut it down too much)...

"What do we do to maintain high levels of self-motivation, and what do we do to get it back when it's lost?.....Success is the universal antidote...your objective...is to program a diet of regular success."

"There are big successes, like winning Wimbledon or the Super Bowl, and there are little ones, like slapping the puck past he goalie on a break-away or sinking two pressure free throws to ice the game. All too frequently, the success of the little ones is muted by the failure of the big ones. Success and winning become scrambled."

"In a world where winners are everything and losers are nothing, making the wrong connection is easy. The right connection pairs success with effort, accomplishment and forward growth, not with winning the external contest. Steady success is the key to motivation. It's not a once-every-six-weeks affair. Its got to be constant. And big successes don't materialize over night. The are the natural consequence of the accumulation of hundreds of little successes."


"As one of the premier all-pros in the NFL wisely said 'You don't sneak up on success. You take it one inch at a time...'"


Hmmmm....interesting...a regular diet of success. Amidst a sea of brutal competition....what would that look like? Will it exclude cupcakes?..... or perhaps require them? I will ponder.

Unfortunately, the book is out of print, but you can find it on half.com.

5 comments:

Michael Reddick said...

Pool Minnow, I can't believe I've never run across your blog before. I like your writing and love this post on motivation. Thanks for the book reference, I'll see if I can get my own copy. Good luck in your tournaments. Just a thought...winning tournaments is not always the best measure of success, and may not be frequent enough to suffice as a motivator. Consider setting progressive and objective goals in your practice sessions. That way you can set goals that are realist and achievable. Once you achieve them, you can set the bar a little bit higher. Good luck!

poolminnow said...

Thanks, Michael. I enjoy your blog, too. Mental Toughness Training for Sports is a classic in sports psychology. Loehr did an update "Toughness Training for Sports" which is also worth a read. It takes a more holistic approach to toughness, which is good. But as a result it doesn't go into the same depth on the mental side as the original book. I hope you get as much out of it as I have.

You're definitely right about the short-term progressive goals. The section in the book after the passage I quoted walks you through a process. Its sometimes hard for me to commit to specific goals, when there's so much I could improve on....but that's the topic for another post :-)

(Unrelated note, as I'm about to post this comment blogger wants me to type in the "Word Verification" and the word is "hagsta"....how is that not an actual word?)

Me said...

Hi Pool Minnow. "Mental Toughness Training for Sports" is my all time favorite book for pool! I loved it the first time I read it in 1995 and will never forget how much it helped me. I think I'll write a blog entry of my own about it here soon! There are two particular sections of the book I love love love. :)

Anyway, thanks for mentioning this book which was very impactful to my pool journey.

p00lriah. said...

thanks for adding my link, ms. minnow. to what do i owe this honor? and more importantly, how much do i owe you? :P

poolminnow said...

Wanted to add a similar quote to the one in my post: "Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the hours, weeks, months, and years they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance itself is merely the demonstration of their championship character."