Saturday, October 8, 2011

Trust issues

I wanted to make it at least a month without posting now that I'm retired, but I also really wanted to share an interesting thought from Dr. Patrick Cohn's Sports Insight Newsletter:

Trust in your skills is the ability to let go of controlling thoughts during execution and rely on what you have already trained in practice. Trust is not the same mental skill as confidence. Trust happens during execution, whereas confidence precedes execution. The more confidence you have in your ability to hit the jump shot in basketball, for example, the greater likelihood of you trusting your shot.

I guess I had never really thought about the distinction between trust and confidence...but I can think of moments where I got down on the shot and I was confident I was going to make it. For some reason, I wanted to make sure I made the shot, so instead of trusting my stroke and letting it flow, I tried to control it, and missed.

Having made some changes fairly recently, I don't really trust my stroke right now. Its a new, unproven relationship. If I fall into a rhythm where I'm not really thinking about anything, my stroke works great, better than ever, but to trust it in a moment where I'm thinking "I need to make this ball," I can't help but try to grab the steering wheel (sending the ball crashing into the rail). Trust can take time do grow, I guess, but its just so strange that when things are most important, our instinct can be to do the thing that will mess us up. And that's just one of the reasons why we can't stop playing this crazy game, I guess.

**Dr. Cohn is a sports psychologist who coaches junior and professional athletes and has a number of mental toughness training resources, including a podcast, newsletter, a subscription website (which has some free stuff on it), CD/book programs (which Tyler Eddy mentioned in an interview with Samm Diep). His podcast "Get Psyched For Sports" alternates between answering a listener question and interviews with athletes or other sports psychology experts--its a great free resource.