Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Jared Anderson on the mental aspect of sports -- WEDNESDAY CARDINAL COUPLE
Yogi Berra once said that baseball "is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical". Beside the fact he either had some serious brain damage or was really bad at math, Mr. Berra makes a good point.
Baseball, like most sports, is mostly a mental game. As a player, you must constantly remind yourself to keep pushing and not quit. I have talked to Paulie about the mental aspect of his physical therapy training as he strengthens after his hip replacement and he'll tell you that "it's easy to say stuff like I don't feel like pushing myself 100% today or I'm going to take a shortcut here but unless you keep your head into your workout you're just cheating yourself."
As a player, you must constantly remind yourself to keep pushing and not quit. You are analyzing your opponent and what their next move is. In team sports, you are looking for ways to communicate with your teammates without giving away what you are doing to the opponents.
Beside the actual analytics of the game itself, the college athlete also has all the normal aspects of being a college student -- school, social, life, family and possibly financial responsibilities and obligations. Those can all take a toll on you if you spend too much time worrying or losing focus.
All of our UofL sports are facing a mental challenge right now.
For Volleyball, our ladies need to just focus on playing the game. Starting off 0-2 can add some weight. You may tell yourself that these were top 10 ranked opponents that you lost to but as a competitive athlete and as a entire team -- you hate losing. They gave both Minnesota and Wisconsin a good run for their money which is a very encouraging factor but ultimately they fell short in the end. Losing can be discouraging but with the fire and determination I've seen in this team so far, the wins are coming. The first opportunity for them presents itself at Cardinal Arena this weekend when they host the Cardinal Classic. WKU, Kent State and Illinois come in to test the VolleyCards on Friday and Saturday...the final match against the Illini on Saturday running at the same time (7:30 p.m.) as Louisville Football up in Indy against Purdue.
Watching how the Cards battled the David and Goliath situation in Madison, WI last weekend, both matches reminded me of the famous Grantland Rice quote:
"It's not about whether you win or lose, it's about how you play the game".
Women's Soccer was off to a hot start at 3-0 before the loss to Marquette. It was exciting to see the undefeated run, but I was rather disappointed with the loss in terms of how players handled situations during the game. The called "hand ball" that led to Marquette's PK and eventual first score of the game was a bad call in my opinion (it happened right in front of me) and others agree. A replay clearly shows it was off the defender's bicep and unintentional. Too many players let the call get to them and in their heads. Communication seemed to cease the remainder of the game and ball control was a lost cause after that. It appeared that by letting one call and one play affect their performance the Cards allowed a second goal to occur on a badly placed pass that allowed Marquette to out-kick the goalkeeper on a 40 yard "bloop" shot.
With Louisville's next game at Kentucky (and Marquette has defeated Kentucky earlier in the season, so they could be called the de-facto champs of the state so far, I guess) I hope the Cards bounce back on their feet, clear their minds. Sometimes, it's best to have a short memory. Coach Karen Ferguson Dayes stated she would have been happy to get out of the contest with a 0-0 tie and certainly could have had that happen, given the rest of the action and play. Marquette is a good team, make no mistake about that...but the Cards played hard for the majority of this one and deserved better.
I'll leave this with a quote by Wilma Rudolph for our ladies of the pitch to consider snd ponder:
"Winning is great, sure, but if you're really going to do something in life, the secret is learning how to lose. Nobody goes defeated all the time and if you can pick yourself up after a crushing defeat, and go on to win again, you are going to be a champion someday."
Field Hockey is feeling pretty invincible after a 3-1 win over #3 Delaware (ah, revenge is sweet!) Starting the season undefeated has to feel good -- but it can quickly get to your had, as sports fans and players have seen time after time over the years and even this season. My advice for Coach Sowry's highly ranked squad (we're still waiting to see where Field Hockey gets ranked this week after the Delaware and Indiana wins) is to focus on upcoming opponents one at a time, give them the respect they deserve and trust the process. Even a last place team (especially in the ACC) can turn the tables on a top-ranked team if you get too cocky. It was the legendary Babe Ruth who said "Yesterday's home runs don't win today's games".
The Stick Cards take an Ohio tour this weekend starting with OSU...the first of a lengthy six game road trip.
Being an athlete is a mental obstacle that can be difficult to overcome. Maybe much more than years ago when coaches told players to "just rub a little dirt on it and get back out there and get the win". Each of our sports has their own mental challenges to face, as we've discussed above, and now it's time to see how they handle them.
Have a great Wednesday!