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mental attitude

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Re: mental attitude
« Reply #30 on: March 12, 2009, 09:07:04 AM »
I agree.

Re: mental attitude
« Reply #31 on: March 12, 2009, 10:27:21 AM »
zeek mullins (is it John Gilliland?)

This is the best thread I've seen since coming back to foosball in 2006 after a 20 year layoff.  Very nice.

zeek mullins....you wrote:

"It is not something you either have or you dont have! It is very learnable...."    ......about the "inner game."


I believe that in any competitive sport the aspect of the mental game is the most crucial and all of the competitors strive for that inner peace, or in other words, that ability to perform at their maximum when they need to.  When we're in the moment, it seems so peaceful and effortless, yet when we're out of the moment, it can seem so difficult to get it back.  One often tries too hard.

So, I ask:

1) Can we all have the mental game of Tiger Woods and the other great performers under pressure?

2) Have you learned any specific strategies of getting back in the moment when you've come out of it; e.g., having those lingering thoughts of the missed, key shots?

3) Are there ways to prepare prior to competition that will encourage one's performance to be at its maximum?

4) If having a strong mental game can be learned (which I'm convinced it can be), how does one do it?

5) On a side bar discussion....regardless of the premise being that the mental game can be learned, there seem to be some players/competitors that have a more innate (or is it learned?) ability to perform under pressure.  Why is this?

Keep this stuff coming.....please.

Bruce.

Re: mental attitude
« Reply #32 on: March 12, 2009, 07:20:24 PM »
Bruce
Thanks for the questions. I will give you some short answers here, and get into the details in future posts.


1) Can we all have the mental game of Tiger Woods and the other great performers under pressure?

a) Tiger is the man! I believe he has the strongest mind of any athlete in history. When I watch him in golf interviews and other interviews, I am amazed at his poise. I am convinced that he is not only successful at golf; he is also peaceful and happy with his life. He seems to always talk about getting better at his game, and is never negative. And win, lose or draw he seems to be, and often says he is having fun.
Napolean Hill wrote a book called Think and Grow Rich. It is the second best selling book of all time, behind the bible. In the book he interviewed 250 of the richest men in America. After 20 years of research, Hill reached the conclusion that all of these people had two things in common that caused them to be mega successful. They had a definite major purpose, and they were driven by a burning desire to succeed. I highly recommend this book. There is a reason why it is the second biggest seller of all time.
So I guess the answer to your question is how bad you want it.

2) Have you learned any specific strategies of getting back in the moment when you've come out of it; e.g., having those lingering thoughts of the missed, key shots?

a) Golfers work hard at developing a routine for the 15 seconds or so when it is their turn to hit a shot. They not only work on doing the same things physically every time, they also work on doing the same things mentally every time. This routine is what the top players pay sports psychologist big bucks to develop.
I used to watch Gary Pfeil practice in the early 70s. He had marks on the floor where he placed his feet. Marks on the handle where he placed his hand. He paid attention to his spine angle. He would shoot hundreds of shots during a practice session, and he worked hard at doing them the same way every time. I didnít realize it at the time, but I bet he was working on his thoughts as well.
I have learned a method for controlling the pictures and representations that we make in our minds. Itís called witnessing, and I will get into it in another posting. It is one of the key elements to all of this stuff

3) Are there ways to prepare prior to competition that will encourage one's performance to be at its maximum?

a)   Meditation is the best way to prepare your mind. Once you understand it, it helps clear the negative thoughts and install the positive mindset. Other factors include health, rest, routine and practice.

4) If having a strong mental game can be learned (which I'm convinced it can be), how does one do it?

a)   Study this stuff

5) On a side bar discussion....regardless of the premise being that the mental game can be learned, there seem to be some players/competitors that have a more innate (or is it learned?) ability to perform under pressure.  Why is this?

a) I guarantee it is learned. They just had previous life experience that guided them to their present mindset.


FOR ANYTHING YOU WANT IN LIFE, THERE IS A WAY OF THINKING AND ACTING THAT WILL GET IT FOR YOU! You just have to find the way, and be willing to adopt it.

Zeek

Re: mental attitude
« Reply #33 on: March 13, 2009, 06:00:41 AM »

John,

This is great stuff. I've always been a student of the mental game, even when I was away from it. But this morning when I read what you'd written it opened my eyes to how I have been living my life, walking off yesterdays green every morning when I awake, beating myself up for missing the last putt, so that this morning I am already being chastised internally for that missed putt - and on the defensive on an emotional level - and worn out. 

So it's good timing for me to have found what you've shared so eloquently. What's funny is that when I played foos for a living one of the first things I learned was to not let the past miss affect the next possession, or if I saw it was affecting me - to quickly refocus, breathe, and relax. It was how I learned to think objectively. Things happened, not good or bad things, just things.

I learned it in foosball and was pretty successful in tournaments, and have helped others learning the game. But I wasn't applying the same principles to my daily life. Huh. Cool.

I haven't played competitively for some time, at least not in any tournaments. I'm working the business side of things again after being away for a few years in other pursuits. I don't want to hijack your thread, so I won't go into detail on that here.

I'd be interested in hearing what you've learned about the emotional element to playing and performing. I have my own theories and thoughts about that aspect.

Great to see this stuff being explored here.

Say Hi to Karin for me.

Ken Alwell


Re: mental attitude
« Reply #34 on: March 13, 2009, 08:55:34 AM »
Thanks for the response, John, and your input as well Ken......

and not to change the subject, but KEN ALWELL......

I'm sure you don't remember me, but I started playing in Northern CA and met you and played against you for the first time at the Chico, CA tournaments (Golden Bear Pub??).  Do you remember those?  Ed Lee, Vic Fong, Jimi Lopez, Forsman, Roy Albert, Thor, (this was pre Adrian, Dube, Dana, Phil, etc.) and on TS Blue Top.

At the time I shot a push kick and you were very helpful, encouraging and humble.  I will not forget my first match against you....you were playing with Fern (from Los Angeles) in one of those Chico tourneys....anyway......good memories.

I like your point above about things just happening; not good or bad things, just things.  Much like the analogy in "The Inner Game of Tennis" which describes the emotions of the umpire, and the two players.  When the server hit his first serve out and is making a judgment about it, the receiver is also, and the umpire is merely seeing the serve as out. 

I'd also like to hear opinions about the emotional component to concentration.

Bruce Weltin.

Re: mental attitude
« Reply #35 on: March 13, 2009, 09:23:45 AM »
Very, very good thread! Thanks to all the guys who are contributing here!

Offline Tyler Foos

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Re: mental attitude
« Reply #36 on: March 13, 2009, 10:21:09 AM »
Friends,

This is a great thread with a lot of good information.

I don't remember who said it or what the exact quote is, but basically the idea is that your love of winning should be greater than your fear of losing. I liked the idea because it acknowledges we don't like to lose, but when your mental toughness is being challenged (down 2 games and 2 points in the potentially final game) the love of winning can easily be overshadowed by that fear of losing. Yet that is the time when the love of winning is needed the most, when you need to start, one point at a time, getting into that same mindset you have when you are up 2 games and with a lead. I believe the ability to fall back on your genuine love of the game, that feeling of executing a perfect pass followed by a well executed shot, not feeling the pressure created by thinking you have to win 3 games but one by one enjoying competitive points, from a practiced position of neutrality (12 step influenced) is the direct result of a passion for winning.

When I watch Rico play, he usually portrays this sense that he is in a zone, and although he is always pushing himself to execute as well as possible, I believe his consistency comes from that deep down love of the game (played at his high standards) and not from a fear of a negative result. I guess the idea I am describing is that being motivated to win is better than being motivated not to lose.

Again, really great thread, people!

Take care..................................Tyler

Offline Tyler Foos

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Re: mental attitude
« Reply #37 on: March 13, 2009, 10:38:37 AM »
Sorry - after reading my post above I remembered the quote was about loving to win compared with hating to lose, not fear of losing. My points are the same but I was off on the quote I was trying to remember.

Tyler

Offline bbtuna

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Re: mental attitude
« Reply #38 on: March 13, 2009, 11:03:35 AM »
Tyler,

quote is good either way because both are true

Offline Tyler Foos

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Re: mental attitude
« Reply #39 on: March 13, 2009, 11:15:06 AM »
Tuna,

I agree! And I guess the really dynamic part about it is that it is a constantly moving target. If you win the first game of a match, you are feeding off the positive aspects of the good result. But then, if you find yourself down 3 points in the second game, the whole mental toughness comes into focus from a different perspective than it did 5 minutes earlier. The challenge (and reward, sometimes!) to such a large degree is how to play your game (with all the adjustments and momentum shifts that usually happen in a good match) in the face of varying results. Again, Rico is a really good example of this.

Take care.............................Tyler

Offline bbtuna

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Re: mental attitude
« Reply #40 on: March 13, 2009, 11:30:25 AM »
Tyler,

I totally agree...mental toughness is not something you attain after a great search and then rest in from then on...mental toughness, right-minded playing, with all the variables and shifts, is a way of being and this way of being has to be worked on as long as you want to be competitive

mental toughness is not a destination, mental toughness is an ongoing process

if you think you can coast because you have reached some special level, remember that people who coast are going down hill

there has to be a concerted ongoing effort to keep flexing these muscles or they will slowly but surely continue to weaken

if you are not exercising your mental muscles for right-minded playing they are being worked for mental weakness, there is not middle ground

this fluid live process is true in the more holistic life view but is also true from match to match, game to game, ball to ball, possession to possession, and sometimes even within a single given possession

Re: mental attitude
« Reply #41 on: March 13, 2009, 11:53:57 AM »
In the "Inner Game" it says that you shouldn't be concerned with winning or losing, because it depends on too many factors you can't control. You should instead focus on what you CAN control: playing your best game RIGHT NOW, in this very moment. It's not about winning or losing a match. It's about winning the Inner Game. Sounds very much like what Zeek wrote about Tiger Woods.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2009, 11:55:34 AM by thebodygroove »

Offline bbtuna

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Re: mental attitude
« Reply #42 on: March 13, 2009, 12:17:31 PM »
yes, I did study on this in my first foosball life because I had an issue with the mental side of the game and searched for a mature sport which seemed to have the same mental side of the game as foos and I landed on Tennis, this would have been 1980...since then, I have been a student of the game, physical and mental, practice and play

what you describe, what the Inner Game says, what I have read other places, many things said in this thread, and certainly the core of what zeek is saying is around this "Play in the Now"...it is said in different ways and word pictures to try and capature something that is very hard to describe being more a state of being and so very fluid and hard to describe as opposed to an "event" which is stationary and easier to pic at and describe...

try this illustration, it might not work but lets see...its like I was out water skiing and someone took video of me taking a big jump...it would be like the difference between describing the contents of the video or trying to explain where my mind was at and what I was thinking to accomplish the jump sucessfully...

with the video, I can take as much time as I want to watch it over and over, freeze frame, reverse, slow motion writing and editing until I feel I have the best description of the event as possible explaining what happeind compared with

trying to write or explain feelings, thoughts, the actual state of mind I was in...at this point we start to grasp at anaologies and explanations drawn from our own world view and bucket of experiences...this isn't a frozen event or series of pictures, this is a way of being...very very hard to explain but in the end, it is the same state of being for each person

werid, but fun for some of us to wrestle with

Offline Tyler Foos

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Re: mental attitude
« Reply #43 on: March 13, 2009, 12:18:35 PM »
Tuna,

This reminds me of the saying ' the only people that don't find life difficult are those that acknowledge that life is difficult'. Applied to the mental game of foosball, it implies the need to accurately understand the reality of the challenges in front of you, being physically and mentally prepared to play your best, to evaluate your opponents strengths and weaknesses, how to make adjustments along the way, how to notice patterns that develop during the course of a match (both yours and theirs), how to make overall strategic changes when necessary, etc. You are correct that you don't make it some promised land of mental preparedness, but rather you try to improve your abilites of anticipation and recognition of what is working, what needs to be attempted next, etc. More long term, taking what you learned at an event and practicing for better results the next time, which requires honesty and reflective thought.

Take care.................................Tyler

Offline Tyler Foos

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Re: mental attitude
« Reply #44 on: March 13, 2009, 12:37:26 PM »
Friends,

I just remembered an exercise that might be appropriate here. An old TS buddy of mine from the late 70's showed me this and I remember it increased my awareness on the table. Have a seat, find an object in the room and stare at it for 30 seconds, making every effort possible to not notice anything but the object you are focusing on. Then reverse the exercise, meaning notice/observe as many things in your peripheral vision (keeping your eyes directed at the original object) but not focusing at all on the original object. Next, pick a new object from your peripheral sight and lock in on it, the way you started, concentrating on just the new object and purposely ignoring everything in your peripheral vision. After 30 seconds, again reverse the 2, noticing as much as you can without allowing yourself to concentrate at all on the object in your direct line of sight. Repeat this back and forth concentration exercise for 10 minutes, then play some foosball. If you are like me, you will be surprised at the increase in awareness on the table.

Hope this helps somebody play better!

Tyler