Two golfers who had sliced their balls into the rough searchedfor them for a long time. Finally an old lady who had been watching them called out, “I hope I’m not interrupting, gentlemen, but would I be cheating if I told you where they are? ”
Failure is best forgotten
Perfect games are rare. So are perfect practice sessions and perfect training sessions. Whenever you have one of them, you remember it. So do your friends. People talk about it. You enjoy it. It builds your confidence.
It is always good to fill your consciousness with memories of these successes. It is not good to dwell on mistakes and failures. We talked about that back in Exercise 2.
After you have identified the problem and figured out what went wrong, it is time to let it go and move on. It is good to go to your level after your performance so that you can correct mistakes, cancel them out and reinforce your successes.
Here are some ideas on how to do this from athletes who have been doing it for a long time.
Post-competition evaluation and programming
Bruce Schneider of East Brunswick, N.J., uses all of his experiences – both the successes and the mistakes – to help him improve his athletic performance.
Schneider, a big, powerful man who plays slow pitch softball, was an average player when he first took the Exercise course. But he had a dream. “I wanted to play on one of the best teams and be one of the top players in the country,” he said. “I wanted to be good enough to be listed in the U.S. Slow Pitch Sofball Association’s Directory.”
So that’s what he programmed to happen, and it all came to pass.
“Sofball is a highly mental game,” Schneider explained. “Once you have the basic talent and determine what type of player you are best suited to be (a lot of people try to be something they are not and do not end up enjoying the game as much as they should), then your mental abilities take over – to a degree that we may never understand.
“Your mental abilities, once increased, can help you in every aspect of your life. I know, because I’ve done it myself:
I went from being an average player to batting cleanup on the fourth-ranked team in the world,” he said. The strongest hitter is usually the one selected for the “cleanup” position – the fourth up at bat -so he has a chance to score any of the first three batters who may be on base.
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“My first year playing in the top league in the northeastern United States, I hit three home runs,” Schneider recalled. “Through programming with the Exercise Method workout and fitness techniques, I raised that to an average of 17 or 18 per year.
“But I was not satisfied. One guy, who was a national legend in the game, held the record with 29 home runs. I visualized myself hitting more home runs. I watched videos of myself and other players hitting home runs. I worked out with weights and programmed myself to get the feeling of making a perfect lift so that I could grow stronger. And my home runs increased every year.
“I finally broke the record. In 1991, I hit more home runs than the guy who had become a legend. The record was 29 home runs. In 28 games, I hit 37 home runs, and I had 91 runs batted in.”
Every experience an opportunity to improve
“Very few people take advantage of their recent learning experiences,” Schneider said. “You just played a game or tournament; now what? There are very valuable exercises to help you benefit from what you have just accomplished, whether the results were good or bad.
“First, let us say you were successful.
“The most important thing here is to figure out why so you can reproduce it. Did you practice the pre-game workout and fitness techniques? What was going through your mind during the game? Try to remember as many details as possible. Make sure you “file” this experience so you can recall it and benefit from it the next time. Remember how you felt after your success, how your teammates reacted, how you felt in the car on the way home.
“What if you played poorly? No experience is ever a losing one. You can get a great learning experience from your failures. Actually, the word failure is a poor one. The only failure would be to not learn something from your mistakes. Analyze the events from before and during the game to see if you can pinpoint why things went wrong. Were you nervous? If so, you need to relax more and believe in yourself. Remember the magic word: confidence.
“After you figure out what went wrong (if you could), then mentally correct these mistakes. Relax and visualize yourself in the game again. Only this time fix the outcome and perform in your mind the way you wanted to. There are many benefits to doing this. One is to erase any negative thoughts and reprogram yourself to think only positive thoughts.
“The mind is a resource that few people ever tap into to help them get what they want. Remember that we use only a small percentage of our brains. Who knows what will happen when we learn to use more?” said Schneider.