Photo credit: Becca Matimba on Unsplash
These days, many ultimate players are experiencing great disappointment, frustration, or stress when learning that tournaments for which they have been preparing for a long time are canceled, or postponed.
Everywhere on the web, we can read about how to stay focused, motivated and what to do to keep training and improving during the lockdown.
So, I have decided to write something slightly different, and address what I believe to be the root causes of these uncomfortable emotions.
If you feel a bit lost or anxious, to better navigate through the current situation you may want to ask yourself these four questions, which are, for me, the starting point of any project, task or dream that you wish to accomplish.
Start by writing down everything that makes you angry, nervous, disappointed or sad. According to studies, handwriting increases neural activity and would have an effect similar to meditation. When you meditate, you can access feelings and ideas that are very difficult to access otherwise.
After writing down everything that you feel is negative or uncomfortable about the lockdown, you may feel more free and ready to let go. This is when you open up to positive emotions and new ideas. The next step is to ask yourself these questions:
Write down everything that comes to your mind. At this step, what is crucial is to get to the bottom of the what and the why.
It was very important to me to participate in this tournament.
Because I wanted to play against the best players in the world.
Because I wanted to live that experience with my teammates.
The further you go, the more you will understand your own mechanisms of motivation, and this will help you figure out solutions to stay empowered and get what you want and need.
Knowing why is the basis of motivation. Ultimate and sports in general may not be only about competing on a field. It may also be about connections, friendship, collaboration, lifestyle, health, family, learning, mastery, and love. Despite the lockdown, it is still possible to connect with these core values in some way, and express them in your life.
This leads me to the second question.
Once you know what is really important to you in the sport of ultimate and why it is important to you, you may ask yourself if there is another way to get what you want.
And I tell you now: the answer is always yes!
We only need creativity, which we all have. Our problem is that we often focus too much on the current situation and we want things to go as planned. This attitude can prevent us from finding new opportunities.
If you want competition, imagine your opponent training while you do it, and see yourself pushing harder and training longer than them.
If you want connections, watch online games with your teammates and comment together.
If you want friendship, stay in touch with your teammates and organize team meetings online.
If sport helps you to feel healthy, take advantage of this break to integrate new habits - eating habits, relaxation, yoga - into your daily life.
If you like to train, train at home and ask a friend to challenge and motivate you by letting you know when they are training.
If you like to travel, choose a few countries you want to visit and watch movies and documentaries to learn more about their customs and traditions.
If you love to learn and seek to develop mastery, well ... there are many online opportunities right now! Watch technical videos about throwing, watch games while listening to commentators, read biographies of athletes.
Yes, this is very different from training, competing and hanging out with your teammates. It is a very special situation and we are not used to it. But change is the nature of life. And to become a better player, we need to learn to adapt to change and to see each obstacle as an opportunity to grow and become stronger. When you work on transforming your perspective on events, you train for ultimate.
Once you have decided on what aspect(s) of the sport you want to focus on and the core values you want to integrate into your life during the lockdown, write down one to three new goals for the next few weeks, tailored to your current situation.
In this step, make a list of all the obstacles that could prevent you from achieving your new goals. Next, write down your strategy for getting around these obstacles.
For example, you have decided to train three to four times a week, but you know that you may reschedule whenever you feel tired or when it is raining. What could be your strategy for doing it anyway when these thoughts arise? You can choose to train in the morning or get another training that you can do indoors on rainy days. If you plan ahead, you will be prepared and more likely to act.
Now that you know why you love ultimate, that you have found ways to stay in touch with ultimate at home, that you have set new goals, and that you have a plan to overcome obstacles, you are ready to move on to the next step.
Set one mini-goal every day. If you know why you wake up, you will feel motivated.
Many ultimate players are not motivated to train at this time. It's because they lost their why. They don't know why they would do it, if the tournament they were training for would not happen. If you don't know exactly why you are doing what you are doing, you will not feel very compelled to do it, and you will not have the energy and motivation to overcome the obstacles that come your way.
If you want to stay motivated and have energy every time you wake up in the morning, the first thing you need to do right now is to go find a new big goal that will make you feel alive and happy.
The lockdown leads us to question our beliefs and identify our core values. What is really important? What, in our sport, lights up our day? Once you understand what you love most about ultimate and the values that this sport connects you to, you will surely find ways to get it, whatever the situation.
To learn more about Guylaine Girard and to support her work, visit ggmentalrepultimate.com.