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An Alter Ego as a Competitive Edge

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As a young pitcher my disposition was naturally cheery on the mound. I was smiley, and for the most part, completely relaxed. My personality Brian+Wilson+San+Francisco+Giants+Photo+Day+kRgjKI-PYv1lhelped me throw well and kept me calm in pressure situations, but I wasn’t exactly intimidating to the opposing batters. I lacked the intensity of a foo-man-shoe mustache that most MLB relief pitchers sported back in the day. My coach thought I needed a “fear the beard” edge over my opponents. His solution, sunglasses; every time I went on the mound I was ordered to wear sunglasses in an attempt to intimidate the batters I faced. This memory got me thinking; maybe the girls who need a little extra umph out there on the playing field could create an alter ego to release their inner all-star. Beyonce does it, why can’t we!

Sasha Fierce is the infamous alter ego of Beyonce Knowles that allows her to be sassy, sexy, and all kinds of fierce during her on stage performances. ‘When I’m onstage I’m aggressive and strong and not afraid of my sexuality. The tone of my voice gets different, and I’m fearless. I’m just a different person”-Beyonce.?????

Alter ego’s can be a source of mental preparation before taking the field. Instead of going through their mental routine before competition to prepare themselves to play, athletes could focus on transforming into their alter ego personality. This personality may be a little more intense, a little less outwardly emotional, and more self-confident than their normal self usually is. I’ve always felt that the competitive side of me is different than my everyday personality anyway so creating an alter ego may actually help athletes put their game face on.

Give your alter ego its’ own name and its own look.This new persona should be very vivid in your mind, see their body language and how they hold themselves. Know how this person would react in all situations, to failure, to distractions, to successes, and injuries. Even give your alter ego a background story. Where do they come from and why are they so unbreakable on the field. The more filled out this character is, the easier it will be transform into them at game time.

Pulling on this persona before competitions and practice will allow you to leave reality and step into work mode. Life distractions will seem more distant because they aren’t a part of your alter egos reality, they only know sport. Pulling on your alter ego suit will take some practice. Take a few minutes to step into your new persona just before practice and games. For a while you may have to re-engage your new persona during game breaks like Billy Chapel from For The Love of the Game, “Clear the Mechanism”. 

It takes just as much effort to mentally suit up as it does to physically suit up. Take the time to let your mind leave reality and enter the world of competitive sport. Maybe the best time to transform into your alter ego IS while you are suiting up. Visualize yourself changing into that person as you change into your practice gear or game day uniform. Let it be known to your teammates, they should be able to tell the difference between the normal you and your competitive alter ego. Commit to your new character, the less you break face, the easier it will be to become your alter ego when you need it.

Alter egos have helped many notable people in history to be the successes they became. Take the time to create the best athlete version of yourself you can, and next time you step out onto the field, GET YOUR GAME FACE ON!

 Quote of the day:

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela 

Re-discover The Game You Love

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In one of my classes last week, I got the opportunity to hear Coach Fogel, the Chico State Womens Head Basketball Coach, speak about his experiences within sport. He got to discussing youth sport and how ridiculously competitive it has become over the years. Kids used to just go outside and play pick up games with their friends. Now youngsters are competing for spots and driving two hours to merely get 480177_10151827872848508_988127512_nthe chance to play in a few games. Wouldn’t kids be better off getting 500 repetitions in their front yard with their friends? Youth sport has become obsessed with getting kids to the next level with the sole goal of eventually showing them off to college recruiters. Where did just playing for fun go?

Pursuing softball as a collegiate career caused me to take the game seriously at a young age. I have been playing highly competitive ball on multiple teams since elementary school. Although I began playing the sport because it was fun, I continued to play because I enjoyed the competitive aspect. I found pleasure in mastering the skills of the sport and demonstrating competency through competition. Practicing, or “playing”, became a habit. It was just something you did. You suited up, worked your hardest, and fine tuned your talent. To an elite athlete, that’s fun. Over time your mindset gets confined into thinking that playing softball always has to be productive. I had lost the sense that this is a game, something kids do for fun just like four-square or dodge-ball. For me, softball had been taken out of that category. It was a sport, and it needed to always be taken seriously.

Just recently, a friend of mine put softball back into perspective. He had challenged me to a dual; I was to pitch, and he was to attempt to hit off me. Challenge accepted. We went down to the local high school with my dad and went head to head. Wow, pitching was no longer effortless like it used to be. But regardless, I was still triumphant for the most part, and best of all; we all had a blast. It was fun to 189082_1883561375478_3289214_njust get outside, move, and throw a ball around. We just enjoyed the natural rhythm of the game on a beautiful spring day. This experience completely revived my love for the game of softball. A physical activity I can engage in with friends to pass the time. In fact, the very next weekend I drove up to Folsum to visit an old teammate and we spent most of the day on Saturday playing softball. It was silly and carefree, and brought back all those feelings that made me stick with the sport in the first place.

What have you been missing out on? Get out and go play!

Quote of day:

“Life is more fun when you play games”-Roald Dahl

Baring it all

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