Here is the full transcript of Izzy Sandston’s TEDx Talk: Mentality Is as Important as Skills at TEDxYouth@ParkCity conference.
You’re standing on the court, the field. There are several eyes watching you as the ball hurdles towards you.
It’s an easy shot, hit, throw. But nerves start to overwhelm you. You overthink it. Before you know it, the ball is out of bounce, in the net, drops. In sports, your mentality is just as important as your skill set.
Your brain influences all your decisions, good and bad. This doesn’t end in sports. Here are a few situations where this appears prevalent.
Number one, when you get cocky. I play volleyball. My team and I have recently competed in a national tournament. Our first set of the entire tournament, we played fairly well. We won by some 13 points. As you’d expect, we were excited. But as the next set rolled around, we found ourselves letting up.
We weren’t trying as hard, because we didn’t think we had to. Well, we were wrong. Can you guess what happened next? We lost. Bad. Our coach soon informed us that we chose to be cocky over confident, which we now know are two very different things.
Number two, doubting yourself. In my mind this is the worst mentality you could have because at least when you’re being cocky, you have some belief in yourself. But when you doubt yourself, you start to think you can’t. Little things you know you can do become impossible. You become sloppy and give up.
This could happen a lot when you’re playing an opponent who you believe to be better than you. In reality, you aren’t worse than them but by having that mentality, you make yourself worse.
Number three, dwelling. The active lingering on events of the past. My team does this a lot. And when I say a lot, I mean every single point. Dwelling is like setting yourself up to fail. Because it haunts you through the next play, the next game, or even for the rest of the tournament. It’s hard to get over giving the other team a point or making a mistake when you can feel your teammates glaring at you from the back of your head.
Number four, visualization. This mentality can be negative or positive, so it’s important to exercise caution. I definitely visualize points In whether I see myself acing it in or serving it out matters. When I visualize, my mind is making a prediction that my muscles begin to make happen. My coach reiterates this to us more than she tells us our names.
But the whole time we’re thinking her methods are unorthodox, we’re forgetting that she’s making us better and earning us points. I do believe that in sports your mentality is just as important as your skill set. So next time you’re on the court, the field, and there are several eyes watching you as the ball hurdles towards you, choose your mentality. It will make a difference. Because when you adjust your mind you adjust to succeed.