High’s and Lows of Competition

So, as the year rev’s up with some fantastic bouts for Muay Thai (Glory5 at Excel Arena) and BJJ (PAN-AMS), I wanted to try and explain a little bit more about competition and the emotional rollercoaster that goes along with it.

As you may or may not know I used to play rugby at a professional level, and from personal experience I have found that the emotional highs and lows of winning are exagerated in the individual combat sports as opposed to the team sports. This is down to the fact that as an individual, you are investing more of your personal character (Nae, some may say ‘how you define yourself’); However, in a team, you share the glory/responsibility of the win/loss.

In victory, we rarely spend as much time analysing our performance, as we do in a defeat, but this is the nature of the game, and one that allows us to grow and develop more from a loss. In victory, this is affirmation that we are doing ‘the right things’. We expect to win, therefore we dont spend too much time assessing and analysing, what we have done right, what we have done wrong and what we could do different, because we have achieved the end-result we set out for.
Its only in loss…..when things havent gone right….when things havent gone to plan, that we look back to see where it went wrong.
Its in this state of vulnerability, when we have exposed our inner hopes, dreams and aspirations, in front of our friends, family, peers and baying crowd, that this can all come crashing down. This is what makes ‘losing’ so much harder….but this also shows the true heart of the competitor, when all this has been put on the line, and you can see how they truely react.
Some remain noble and honourable
Some are reduced to tears and throwing a ‘kiddy-strop’
Some get embarrassed
Some go quiet
Some you see their souls crumble in front of you, and you see the fire in their eyes get extinguished…..I know I have been guilty of some of these, but its in these highly-charged emotional moments that make combat sports so exciting.

You know I am regularly posting quotes on the Star Performance Mind Coaching page, for issues that are prevelent in all our lives, and one of my most favourites is by Theodore Roosevelt:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

So what can we take from this, from a coaching perspective?
I think the essence comes down to “Where is the ‘critic’ coming from”?
1 – Do they have a background in this scenario, so they can speak from experience?
2 – Do they whole-heartedly have your best interests at heart?
3 – Is the advice they are giving you ‘helping’ or ‘hitting you when you are down’?
Unless they can answer ‘yes’ to all three, this will help you assess how much notice you are going to take of the information. Sure its nice to get a bit of sympathy/loving but this isnt going to help you get back on track sooner rather than later.

Following on from this, there is the NLP persepctive, which says “There is no failure, Only feedback” so lets get back on the horse and use this as motivation to train harder and smarter than before :)


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