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Showing posts from August, 2020

Low-Intensity Training

When it comes to training, more isn't always better. Your body (and your mind) has limits. Once you reach a certain point, more training becomes over-training.

Over-training is of course something to worry about. However, there are many athletes who think they're training at the optimal amount, but in reality, they could be doing more.

After a few hours of high-intensity training on the practice field and in the weight room, they may think they have done enough for the day. They are convinced that they need to rest. This may be true since there is only so much high intensity training you can do everyday. However, they may be forgetting that while they don't need to be doing any more high-intensity training, they could still do more "low-intensity training" that adds very little wear and tear to their body.

The problem is that many athletes and coaches laugh at the idea of "low-intensity training." They think that training is only worthwhile if it's hig…

Extrinsic vs Intrinsic Motivation

Extrinsic motivation is the motivation to gain something external from yourself. Extrinsic motives include money, scholarships, praise, accolades, recognition, fame, rankings, and trophies. External motivation can be in the form of punishments as well. For example, you can be motivated to avoid punishments such as being yelled at by your coach, losing your ranking, or losing money.

External motivation is common because most people need tangible rewards in order to survive as well as to feel pleasure and self-esteem. Some people want these external rewards so much, that they become powerful motivators and lead to great work ethic and success. However, there are some major issues with external motivation. First of all, they only motivate you as long as they remain provided. If the rewards stop coming, you may lose your motivation to work hard. If you want more reliable motivation, you need to be intrinsically motivated as well. You don't want to become too dependent on extrinsic moti…

How to Destigmatize Mental Illness

It's natural for people to be afraid to seek help for their mental health. Opening up to others about your mental health and asking for help can be uncomfortable, painful, and embarrassing. It doesn't help that mental illness and therapy are often stigmatized by our culture. People have the impression that if you're mentally ill, you have less value as a person. They associate mental illness with words such as crazy, weird, or weak. This is unfortunate because people often go untreated because of these stigmas. As a result, they suffer when they could be regaining their mental health.

Here are six reasons to not be afraid to seek help for your mental health.
1. Mental health is just as important as physical health. As a society, we don't treat mental health with the same respect as physical health. When we're physically sick or injured, we almost immediately seek help from a doctor, but when we're struggling with our mental health, we often procrastinate and let …

Two Kinds of Fear

To help you deal with fear and pressure better, it helps to know about the different kinds of fear. There's the fear that comes from physical threats, and the fear that comes from emotional/social threats.

Everyone experiences the fear that stems from physical threats. This is the fear of heights, the fear of snakes, and the fear of hurting yourself physically in any way. This is normal and healthy to a certain extent. These fears are ingrained into our biology to help keep us alive. When faced with these physical threats, our bodies automatically go into fight, flight, or freeze mode to help us avoid danger and survive.

However, as we all know, these physical reactions don't help us when it comes to performing in games. The pressure/fear we feel in games can cause us to tense up, play too emotionally, and choke. But why do we feel this fear in games anyways? When we're performing in a game, we're not in a life or death situation. We're not going to die if we make mi…

Embrace Pressure, But Also Reduce It

I often advise athletes to embrace pressure, to learn to enjoy it rather than fear it, and to be excited rather than nervous. This can be great advice. For one, it encourages you to seek pressure situations instead of running from them. This is good because great things can only be achieved by overcoming pressure. As the saying goes: no pressure, no diamonds. Also, by seeing pressure as a challenge rather than a threat, you can manage your emotions better and perform better because of this.

However, another piece of advice I give to athletes is the need to reduce pressure in order to perform better. I say this because contrary to what some people believe, pressure doesn't improve performance. With all else being equal, pressure harms performance by interfering with our working memory and muscle memory. In short, it causes us to choke and act too emotionally. When people perform well under pressure, they perform well despite of pressure, not because of it. This is why I tell people …

Book Review: Total Focus by Brandon Webb

In Total Focus, Brandon Webb writes about seven key lessons he has learned during his time as a Navy Seal and also as an entrepreneur. I really enjoyed this book because not only is it informative, inspiring, entertaining, coherent, and easy to read, but it's also relatively short. I appreciate this because too many books are drawn out and take too long to read. I'm glad Webb kept it compact and stuck to the fundamentals.

Here are the seven lessons that Webb writes about:
1. Focus
2. Situational awareness
3. Taking action
4. Excellence
5. Embracing adversity
6. Teamwork/chemistry
7. Leadership

The first three lessons, when combined together, can help you drastically improve your performance in any field. Success is about action and execution. To succeed, you need to do the things that lead to success. And in order to execute each action well, you need both total focus and situational awareness. These are the basics of high performance. Webb sums it up great when he writes, "Do you…